Saturday, September 17, 2011

Three Quick Keys to Beating Oakland

1. *Sigh* Stop the run.

The hardest part about writing this whole "Three Keys" thing, is that this one is far and away the most important thing virtually every week. Its just so painfully, devastatingly obvious that every week the Bills will lose if they can't defend against the run. Last week it was the Chiefs, who were the best rushing football team in the known universe last year, and this week its the Oakland Raiders, who were the second best rushing football team in the mapped cosmos. I scrambled my brains every day after work this week for something other than "stop the run", and there just isn't anything as valid. I have to make it a key. I have to.

Stop the run defense. I don't want to spend anymore of my life talking about this.

2. Win the one-on-ones. 

Last year, the Raiders were quietly one of the best pass rushing teams in the league, registering 47 sacks (tied for 2nd in the NFL). The Raiders achieved that feat in impressive fashion, getting four or more sacks from seven different players. Frankly I don't expect us to win in the trenches offensively that often. I do however, expect us to win on the outside, and thats where things get interesting.

Last year, the Raiders were 21st in the league when it came to surrendering passing plays of 20 yards or more. Even more interestingly, they 28th in the league in giving up touchdown passes. They gave 29 TDs, and only picked off 12 passes. Remember, this is with Nnamdi Asmougha still holding down one corner. Last week against the Broncos, six different Broncos receivers had a reception of 15 yards or more. The Bills receiving corps is going to need to have similar success against Oakland's banged up secondary.

 3. Attack Jason Campbell's right arm

Before you say anything, I'm not advocating breaking anything. History has shown however, that Campbell has predilection for putting the ball on the ground. His fumble last week was his 43rd fumble in his last 58 starts. Twice he's fumbled 13 times in one season.

Obviously its easier said than done, and Campbell has managed to recover quite a few of his fumbles, but the opportunity is there. Hopefully Buffalo's defense will put in some extra strip drills this week to prepare.

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