Saturday, September 14, 2013

Week 2 AFC East game picks: Panthers at Bills

Publisher Nick St. Denis, associate editor Dan Begnoche and senior contributor Sean Donovan pick the Buffalo Bills' cross-conference contest with the Carolina Panthers.

Dan's take:
A week after Ron Rivera called his offense too conservative, Cam Newton & Co. will come out firing against the Bills' banged up secondary, which will struggle to contain Steve Smith and the Panthers' vertical game. C.J. Spiller and the rushing attack will stumble against a line that stifled Marshawn Lynch in Week 1, which will put too much pressure on the rookie E.J. Manuel to hold the offense together.
Prediction: Panthers 28, Bills 17

Nick's take:
Newton is poised for a bounce-back game against an injury-depleted secondary that is without its best safety and cornerback. Spiller will have a better game despite facing a tough Panthers defensive front, but it won't be enough. Carolina should make more big plays through the air in the first half and third down-convert the Bills to death in the second.
Prediction: Panthers 26, Bills 20

Sean's take:
The Bills' defense played well against an in-the-pocket passer last week, but the Panthers' offense present a different challenge. Cam Newton's mobility will put tremendous pressure on Buffalo's secondary and linebacker corps and will help exploit the the defense's aggressiveness. Spiller will have a productive day, but Carolina contains Manuel just enough to grind out a victory.
Prediction: Panthers 24, Bills 16