In an exciting matchup between one of the top defenses in the league vs one of the top offenses in the league, the Buffalo Bills travel down to Georgia to take on the Atlanta Falcons. Will the Bills be able to corral the Falcons offense or will Atlanta soar to a blowout win? Kickoff inside the Mercedes-Benz Stadium is at 1 P.M. ET.
The Buffalo Bills (2-1) shocked the NFL by defeating the Denver Broncos 26-16 last week. The Bills looked like a top-tier team with an elite level defense and an offense that grinded out the yards. This week, the Bills defense will be put to the test by the explosive Falcons offense. Can the Bills hold the Falcons to a season low in points and give them their first loss on the season?
The Atlanta Falcons (3-0) return home where they are a deadly team. They squeaked out a win in Detroit 30-26 and look to get back to their high scoring ways. Atlanta did struggle in the game as the Lions defense forced several turnovers. Will Atlanta be turnover prone this week against a stout Bills defense or will they take better care of the ball?
The spread opened with the Bills favored by 9 points. It has since come down to 8 points. The Over/Under opened at 49 points and has come down to 48.5 total points.
What we have here is a classic battle of a great offense versus a great defense. The Bills lead the league in points allowed at just 12.3 points per game. They haven’t given up a passing touchdown on the season and are holding teams to 300 total yards per game. Additionally, the Bills are very stout against the run as they’re only allowing 75 yards per game.
Last week vs Denver, the Bills were able to harass Trevor Siemian all game long and forced multiple turnovers. You can expect the Bills to do the same to Matt Ryan of the Falcons. Another note about the Bills fantastic defensive performance last week was that they did it without their best defensive lineman Marcell Dareus. The big lineman will be playing this week in Atlanta.
The Lions were able to force Matt Ryan to throw 3 interceptions last week. If Buffalo can do the same against Ryan this week, then they will have a great chance at winning the game, not just covering the 8 points. Atlanta running back Devonta Freeman was able to eclipse the 100 yard rushing mark, but he will have a much harder time this week against the Bills.
I expect the Bills defense to shut down the run and harass Ryan all game. I don’t see Atlanta reaching their 29 ppg average this week.
Defensively, Atlanta is allowing 22 points per game, which is 6 more points than the Bills average per game. However, the Bills have gone up against 2 elite defenses the last two weeks in Carolina and Denver. Atlanta is not an elite defense as they’re also giving up 358 yards per game. Although they’re only giving up 85 rushing yards per game, they’ve done that against 3 teams that aren’t known for being great at running the ball: Chicago, Green Bay and Detroit. So, you can expect the Bills to come out and try to run the ball right down Atlanta’s throat.
In their last 5 meetings, Atlanta is 4-1. However, their last matchup was 4 years ago when the Bills had less talent. This year, the Bills have a much improved defense and one of the league’s best running backs. Additionally, they have a quarterback that can scramble and extend plays, which Atlanta hasn’t really faced this season.
The betting numbers point to Atlanta covering this spread. However, I don’t see it happening this week. Shady McCoy will have a big game as he runs all over Atlanta. Look for Shady to get at least 150 total yards and a TD against the Falcons. Additionally, the Bills defense will keep the game close and shut down Atlanta’s rushing attack. I expect this game to be a nail biter where Atlanta pulls it out with a late game field goal 24-23.