Key AFC Showdown

AFC Game Of The Week

Oakland Raiders at Buffalo Bills

Raiders: They saved their season last week. If they had lost to the Chiefs on Thursday Night Football, the Chiefs would be 6-1 and the Raiders would in the cellar of the AFC West at 2-5 and in the midst of a five-game losing streak. They needed a big game from Derek Carr and they got it along with also finding their offensive touch in the process. What a huge difference being 3-4 makes instead of sitting three games below .500 and with that being said, you’d be in an enormous hole right now. When the season started, there was a lot of hype surrounding them and I could understand why because they are coming off their first winning season in 14 years and they made the playoffs. Then, you had some who weren’t necessarily sold and I could also see that as well. I’d take the Raiders much more seriously if they could fix a thing or two with their defense, that’s what I feel is the only thing keeping them from being a serious contender in the AFC behind New England, Pittsburgh, and Kansas City. It’s week eight and if they want to keep themselves afloat in the playoff picture which will begin to form itself, this is an important game against a much improved Buffalo Bills team.

Bills: They’ve been one of my biggest improvements nd surprises so far this season. Heading into the eighth week of the season, if you had told me the Buffalo Bills would be 5-2 and in second place in the AFC East, a division ran by Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, I’d look at you as if you were insane. Normally around this time of the year, they’re sitting at .500 or below it and they’re usually out of contention. Not this time! If the playoffs were to start today, they’d be in and no, you do not have to adjust your eyes when reading that. With a new head coach comes a new culture along with them and Sean McDermott is getting the job done so far. I’ve seen more effort from these guys this year alone than I did each year that Rex Ryan was the head coach so that right there should tell you a lot. I’ve often referred to and compared a head coach to a salesperson. They try to pitch their ideas to people (in this instance, the players) and then, the players buy into it and they have. The defense is more disciplined and aggressive, the offense is patient and they don’t force things and the biggest takeaway is getting back to establishing LeSean McCoy once again. A possible 6-2 record looms for the Bills with a win on Sunday.

Raiders Player To Watch: Jared Cook– He seems to be more comfortable now in the offense than he did in their first few weeks of the season. He gives Carr that reliable target over the middle and last week, they got him the ball more and Kansas City couldn’t do a thing to shut him down. Keep using him, why have him on the field if you won’t?

Bills Player To Watch: Tre’Davious White– They moved to draft him and so far, it’s paid off. This is going to be his toughest test being lined up against Amari Cooper. He has such a bright future ahead of him.

Final Analysis: This is an important game as we approach the first half of the season mark. It won’t be easy, but Oakland has to get that running game going and the Carr that they got last Thursday is the guy they’ll need not just for this game, but the remainder of the season. Oakland is terrible when it comes to shutting down the run. Get Shady his touches early and good things will happen.

Prediction: Bills 31 Raiders 23