The Buffalo Bills are coming off one of the most embarrassing losses in franchise history, after giving up a 21-7 lead to fall to the New England Patriots 52-28 last week. The 49ers, on the other hand, are coming off a week in which nine different players carried the ball to the tune of 245 rushing yards, and a 34-0 shutout of the Jets in New York. Along with the impressive shutout against the Jets, the 49ers sport the leagues 3rd best statistical defense, 5th in passing defense. In reality in may be the leagues best.
Bills Offense vs. 49ers Defense
Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller are healthy this week. As important as the running game will be against San Francisco, the 49ers are a team that gave up one rushing touchdown all of last year, and has only given one up this year as well. The 49ers defense plays the ball deep to short, preventing deep passing and keeping everything in front of them, and mostly they rely on only seven in the box to stop the run.
The 49ers secondary and pass rush are responsible for their 5th ranked passing defense. Highlighting the 49ers pass rush is Aldon Smith. With 4.5 sacks this year so far, his match up against backup left tackle Chris Hairston is a mismatch, and the 49ers should exploit it early and often. Stevie Johnson is a playmaker for the Bills on offense, but the platoon coverage of Carlos Rodgers, Tarell Brown, and the 49ers safeties Goldson and Whitner, have found a way to keep opposing teams that have only one weapon outside to mediocre days.
The 49ers have yet to allow a 100-yard receiver this year, despite seeing the likes of Calvin Johnson, Percy Harvin, Santonio Holmes, and all the Packers wide receivers. Like all other teams in the league, the Bills can expect some trouble moving the ball against the 49ers, and containing Ryan Fitzpatrick’s turnovers will be key to their success.
49ers Offense vs. Bills Defense
The Buffalo Bills need their very highly paid defense to show up. Last week, against the Patriots, the Bills stayed in their nickel defense when the patriots went to two tight ends. This allowed the Patriots to run the ball effectively on the Bills smaller players, and when the Bills brought someone down in the box, the Patriots would play action and go over the top.
The NFL is a copycat league, so I expect to see the 49ers work a similar scheme, but one can expect Buffalo to go heavy with the 49ers 2 tight end sets, as the 49ers have displayed different tendencies from this set. This should allow both San Francisco tight ends, Vernon Davis, and Delanie Walker, to have opportunities in this game. Where is Mario Williams?
The 100 million dollar man has been disappointing this season, and if the Bills are going to stop any offense this year, Mario is going to have to start playing super. The Bills linebackers and secondary were scorched last week, as the Patriots put up 247 rushing yards and Tom Brady had 340 passing yards and was only sacked once. San Francisco had 245 rushing yards last week, on the road against what was thought of as a good Jets rush defense. These two statistics seem to hint towards a big game on the ground for the 49ers.
Greg Roman’s offense is still developing in its second year for the 49ers. Last week they unveiled multiple trick plays, and an option attack starring backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick. These added elements give coaches headaches preparing for them. Make no mistake though, this offense does not need to trick you. The 49ers power on more power running style is a welcome refresher from former years. As they are one of the only teams in the league to actively use this style throughout the game, it has given the 49ers an added element of violence on offense to go with their ultra violent defensive scheme.
Both teams will have to keep their foresight in check this week, with huge games next week as well. Right after the 49er game, the Bills will stay the week in Arizona in preparation to take on the 4-1 Cardinals. San Francisco stays home and prepares for a big test against the recent Super Bowl Champions, the New York Giants.