The Bills, controversially, have handed the keys to their offense over to a rookie quarterback, while over on the Chargers side, it’s still undecided whether their polarizing QB will take the field after being in the concussion protocol this week. And oh, yeah, the Bills will reunite with a familiar face on the opposite sideline: now-Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn, who served as Buffalo’s offensive coordinator for the majority of 2016.
1.) Rookie Nathan Peterman is scheduled to make his first career start on Sunday now that Tyrod Taylor’s been benched. Peterman received some props from pundits during pre-draft evaluations, and he was impressive during the preseason. What are your impressions of the rook, and do you think the Chargers are better off going against him?
I haven't watched any of Peterman since draft prep time, but I think it's a gift for the Chargers to be facing any rookie quarterback in their first start rather than a capable, proven player like Tyrod Taylor. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram are a rough introduction to the NFL. The Bills will need to find success in the running game with LeSean McCoy if they are to have a chance offensively on Sunday.
2.) It seems like Chargers QB Philip Rivers might very well end up facing the Bills, but in the chance that he doesn’t, does the team have a real shot at winning with Kellen Clemens under center?
If the Chargers end up starting Kellen Clemens this week or any week, there is no team in the NFL that I would pick them to win against. Clemens is not an NFL-caliber player and the dropoff from Rivers to him is almost immeasurably large. Clemens cannot reliably hit his targets in practice without a pass rush. In a live game situation, he is a complete disaster. Chargers fans that aren't already in draft mode should be hoping and praying that No. 17 is ready to get back on the field.
3.) Buffalo’s offense was pretty successful a season ago with Lynn serving as its offensive coordinator. Some in the media thought that he would take over as coach of the Bills after Rex Ryan was fired. How do you rate the job Lynn has done with the Chargers through nine games.
Anthony Lynn has had his ups and downs during his first season in Los Angeles. His in-game decision-making has improved from the beginning of the season, but we have also witnessed some regression in the last two games. His clock management to start the year was atrocious, but he has climbed to merely below average. He is still obviously new in his role and the growing pains he has experienced and is experiencing were expected. Thankfully, he seems to learn from his mistakes much quicker than Mike McCoy did. I remain cautiously optimistic that he can become a good head coach in the NFL.
4.) The Bills offensive line has been criticized pretty heavily this season for their performance, particularly in pass protection. What kind of performances are you expecting from Los Angeles’ stud pass rushers, Bosa and Ingram, on Sunday?
Bosa and Ingram should do what they have done all season: create pressure on nearly every single passing down. They are one of the best pass rushing duos in the NFL and Chris McCain is no slouch either. The Bills need to run the ball effectively to slow down the rush and they need to employ a quick passing attack that doesn't leave Peterman vulnerable to a dangerous pass rush.
5.) What are your predictions for how the game will go, and who do you see coming out with a W?
If Philip Rivers is able to play, I think the Chargers should be able to score enough points to come away with the win, but if Kellen Clemens is taking snaps for the Chargers, I like the Bills to win comfortably despite a low-scoring output.