Sunday, September 21, 2014

Matchup Mashup: Your Bills-Chargers primer


Week 3: San Diego Chargers (1-1) at Buffalo Bills (2-0), 1 p.m.
Location: Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, N.Y.
Weather: Cloudy, high 60s at kickoff; 50 percent chance of thunderstorms (accuweather)

The skinny: It may only be two games into the season, but the Buffalo Bills are perfect, thanks to a gritty road win on opening day in Chicago and a decisive victory against the division rival Dolphins in Week 2. Staying relatively mistake-free has helped, as the Bills currently hold the fifth-best turnover ratio (+4) and have only given up a few big plays on defense. For San Diego, it's about riding the wave from last Sunday, when they rolled into Seattle and upended the defending champion Seahawks. They'll be without their No. 1 contributor in the ground game, running back Ryan Matthews, but quarterback Philip Rivers and tight end Antonio Gates seemed to be all the team needed against Seattle. Buffalo has given up a huge chunk of passing yards the first two weeks, but the Bills' secondary has kept much of the action in front of them.

What to watch for (links):
- Can the Bills turn things around with their red zone offense?
- Will C.J. Spiller continue to be the X factor for the special teams unit?
- How will Buffalo's rushing trio fare against a fairly stout Chargers defensive front?
- What type of impact will the Bills' rookie starters make?
- Can Buffalo's defense contain Gates?

Injury report: Despite some midweek scares, wide receiver Robert Woods is probable against the Bolts, along with rookie receiver Sammy Watkins. San Diego will be without Matthews and linebacker Melvin Ingram, while wide receiver Keenan Allen is listed as questionable.

Other tidbits from the week:
With Buffalo fans in high spirits following a 2-0 start and the sale of the team, sales in stores and at the box office are through the roof. Sunday's game is sold out (a far cry from the blackout threats from previous seasons), and team merchandise is flying off the shelves. Spiller wasn't only one receiving accolades after Week 2, with both Rivers and Gates both being acknowledged for their monster game against the Seahawks.

Our picks:
Dan: Chargers 23, Bills 17
Nick: Bills 21, Chargers 20
Sean: Chargers 27, Bills 21

Head-to-head recent history: The Chargers have won three of the last four meetings between the two teams, taking the most recent matchup at home, 37-10, back in 2011. San Diego has won 22 of 36 games overall against the Bills, with the last Buffalo win coming in 2008, the last time the Chargers played at the Ralph.

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