Sunday, December 1, 2013

Week 13 picks: Falcons at Bills

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

Dan's take:
Buffalo's performances north of the border at the Rogers Centre have been pretty terrible as a whole, though a game with the 2-9 Falcons may be the remedy. A healthy receiving corps gives rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel more options than he's had all year, which pays dividends for the team's workhorses on the ground, Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. Matt Ryan struggles against a strong red zone defensive unit, and Bills safety Jairus Byrd continues on the upswing with some big third-and-long plays. Buffalo finally makes the most of its dome "home" and puts some serious points on the board against a defense allowing 30 per game.
Prediction: Bills 32, Falcons 17

Sean's take:
After an NFC Championship appearance last season, Atlanta's Super Bowl window appears to have slammed shut in 2013 after a stunning nine losses in its first 11 games. Expect the misery continue in Buffalo, as the Bills possess numerous matchup advantages on both sides of the ball. The biggest of which is an interior defensive line, led by the elite defensive tackle duo of Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams, that will face the Falcons' depleted offensive line. The rest of the Bills' defense and their returning receiver corps are also big factors in a convincing win.
Prediction: Bills 23, Falcons 13

Nick's take:
The Bills are back in Toronto, where their temporary residency has been mostly underwhelming. But this time, they welcome the dome-familiar Falcons, who have struggled mightily and uncharacteristically, in a last-gasp effort to preserve the tiny sliver of playoff hope they still have. Jackson and Spiller run wild against a sub-par Atlanta defense, and Buffalo bends but doesn’t break against Ryan.
Prediction: Bills 26, Falcons 20