Buffalo Bills (2-0) vs Oakland Raiders (1-1)
Four key matchups and who wins them
The Buffalo Bills and the Oakland Raiders are set to square off in a Week 3 NFL matchup in just about two days' time. In anticipation of the matchup, SB Nation's Bills and Raiders bloggers - Brian Galliford of Buffalo Rumblings and Saint of Silver and Black Pride, respectively - have gotten together for a little cage match debate surrounding four of the game's key personnel matchups.
Which blogger - and by extension, which community - is right? Take a gander, gather your thoughts, and let's duke it out in a Bills/Raiders blogger cage match.
MATCHUP ONE: Bills PR Roscoe Parrish vs. Raiders punt coverage
Brian Galliford: I'm not worried about the coverage men that the Raiders boast - Parrish can beat anyone one-on-one, especially on punt returns. Shane Lechler, however, provides a formidable challenge because he's got a huge leg. The key to neutralizing Parrish is kicking it high and making him fair catch it; otherwise, you'd better hope the ball goes out of bounds. Lechler has the leg to force Parrish to fair catch the ball on Sunday. Still, it's going to take a solid effort by both Lechler and the coverage unit to contain the NFL's best punt returner. Advantage: Buffalo
Saint: The Raiders' special teams take great pride in having stopped THE BEST punt returner in the NFL - Devin Hester - last season, and I am sure that they have a pretty good game plan for your man Roscoe Parrish. Shane Lechler has, unfortunately, been our MVP for the last 5 years because he can put the ball where he wants it, when he wants to and is probably the best distance punter in the NFL. Look for his kicks to be high in the air and don't expect MUCH from Roscoe "Pico" Parrish this week. You may want to start thinking of other ways to score. Advantage: Oakland
MATCHUP TWO: Raiders RBs Darren McFadden/Michael Bush vs. Bills run defense
Brian Galliford: No offense to Raiders fans, but I'm not scared of this duo. Don't get me wrong - they're both incredibly talented backs, and neither of them has a ton of mileage, so they're going to be formidable for a long time as long as they stay together. But the Bills are returning from a trip to Jacksonville, where they absolutely shut down the duo of Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew. On the road. In blistering heat. I don't think that Oakland's offensive line will be able to open up holes big enough, consistently enough for Oakland's two excellent backs. Still, these guys are going to be a big challenge for our defense. I think we're up to it. Advantage: Buffalo
Saint: Hah, there you go again. The Bills' run D has to be as overrated as they come, at least so far. Last season the Buffalo run D was Raider-esque. Though not quite as swiss cheesy as Oakland's, it was TERRIBLE, and Oakland's run offense was 6th in the NFL without Bush OR McFadden. By the end of Sunday's game you will know what 200+ yards rushing tastes like. This O-Line may not be able to pass protect, but they can run the ball down anyone's throat. Advantage: Oakland
MATCHUP THREE: Bills WR Lee Evans vs. Raiders pass defense
Brian Galliford: I like Oakland's secondary. The back seven is clearly the strength of the Raiders defense, as y'all boast a lot of talented individuals back there. When the Raiders are fortunate enough to match up Nnamdi Asomugha on Evans, you guys will be fine. But Turk Schonert, Buffalo's new offensive coordinator, has done very well finding ways to get Evans matched up against lesser players. Evans is averaging 22.4 yards per reception this year, and most of his catches have come when Schonert has drawn up a favorable matchup. When Asomugha draws a lesser Bills receiver, however, watch out. Advantage: Push
Saint: DeAngelo Hall put the "D" back in his first name last week as he blanketed the Chiefs receivers. I know that it was the Chiefs, but the entire defense dominated and our DBs could have easily had 5-6 picks. Of course we will need to get pressure on the QB or Lee Evans could break loose, but, Nnamdi, Howard, Morrison, Huff, Routt, Hall and Wilson is one heckuva nickel package. I expect these guys to punch Evans in the mouth and then dominate him. IF he does match up with Hall and burn him a couple of times then he will be blanketed by Nnamdi all day. Advantage: Oakland
MATCHUP FOUR: Raiders pass rush vs. Bills offensive line
Brian Galliford: To be honest, I'm not at all impressed with Oakland's defensive line. I like Derrick Burgess, but I think he'll be faced with a bit of the problem that Aaron Schobel faced in Buffalo for the past two years - he doesn't have anyone to help him. Buffalo's offensive line does an outstanding job pass protecting, and the team has two running backs that have been superb picking up the blitz. It helps that Trent Edwards is very adept at getting the ball out quickly. Bold prediction: Oakland doesn't register a sack on Sunday. Advantage: Buffalo
Saint: I am looking for the Raiders to stunt up the middle this week and let the edge rushers, Burgess and Kalimba Edwards, rush the corners. We have seen how well Langston Walker pass protects and I expect at least one false start and a hold and maybe even two sacks allowed just on him alone. I am kidding (a bit) about Langston, and to be honest, I don't know which game plan will show up. If Oakland blitzes (like they did against KC) and mixes up their packages then they will get to Edwards. If they go "vanilla" (like they did against DEN) then Brian may be correct. Advantage: Push
OK, Bills and Raiders fans. Respect is the name of the game, but trash talk is a must. Who's right? Who's just a "homer"? Time for you to sound off on these matchups and the game in general.