Sunday, October 5, 2014

Matchup Mashup: Your Bills-Lions Primer


Week 5: Buffalo Bills (2-2) at Detroit Lions (3-1), 1 p.m.
Location: Ford Field, Detroit, Mich.
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 50 degrees at kickoff (accuweather)

The skinny: The Buffalo Bills may technically be in first place in the division, but they're certainly not acting complacent after a 2-2 start. With a change in leadership on offense, coach Doug Marrone is rolling the dice on Kyle Orton's ability to lead a passing attack that's currently ranked 31st in the league. He'll likely need a helping hand from his running back tandem, as well as his defense, to get by a top-notch Detroit squad that's currently touting the league's best defense. The Lions are shutting offenses down from every angle, but their own could be in jeopardy this week with its top two receivers on the mend.

What to watch for (links):
- What should Bills fans expect to see out of Orton in his first start this season?
- Can Buffalo's running game get back to business against the stout front four of the Lions?
- How will injuries to Kyle Williams and Nigel Bradham affect the Bills' run defense?
- Will a current trend of ailing offensive players slow down Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford and his unit?
- Have contract rumors regarding Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh distracted the Pro Bowler during preparations this week?

Injury report: Guard Chris Williams is out once again for the Bills, while Kyle Williams is officially doubtful. On the other side of the ball, the Lions have a pair of running backs out this week, as well as tight end Joseph Fauria.

Other tidbits from the week: Buffalo made some changes to its practice squad, as did Detroit. The Bills are getting into breast cancer awareness month, while their defensive coordinator, Jim Schwartz makes his first appearance at Ford Field since leaving the team last season.

Our picks:
Dan: Lions 27, Bills 22
Nick: Lions 30, Bills 17

Head-to-head recent history: This will be the 10th time the two teams have met, with the first nine games split down the middle (that's right, their first matchup in 1972 was a tie). More recently, the Bills have won three of the last four, including a 14-12 victory at home in 2010.

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