What happens when the NFL’s best rushing offense meets the one of the NFL’s worst rushing defenses? Well, unlike last week, let’s just say there will be no pressure on Tim Tebow to make throws down field and score truckloads of points to keep up with the Patriots and Mr. Brady. Expect instead to see Tebow hand the ball to his left, hand the ball to his right and not much more than that.
On Saturday, the Denver Broncos head to upstate New York to match up with the Buffalo Bills. Eight weeks ago, this game would have had a very different feel. The Broncos were in disarray, fingers were pointing, their then-starting quarterback was being benched, and folks in Colorado were hoping the Colts might start winning so that Andrew Luck would end up in orange and blue. The Bills were 5-2, looking like they were going to be tough to beat and talking about winning the AFC outright. What a difference a couple of months can make.
Now, the Broncos are vying for an AFC West division championship and trying to enter the playoffs as one of the hotter teams in the league. The Bills, on the other hand, are still at five wins – but now they have nine losses after an unbelievable 0-7 stretch during which they seemed to go the extra mile to figure out ways to lose. The Broncos are playing for everything; the Bills might (understandably) have visions of sugarplums dancing in their helmets.
On paper, this one shouldn’t be much of a contest. The Broncos have been running over teams. The Bills having given up yards like they were kisses in a stadium full of mistletoe. They currently rank 29th in rush yards allowed. The focus this week won’t be on Tebow’s unorthodox passing delivery but his 245 stout pounds and deceptive speed outside the tackles. Willis McGahee and Lance Ball may both end up with 100 yards before Santa starts to make his evening rounds.
The Bills offense hasn’t been much better. Despite his Ivy League pedigree, Ryan Fitzpatrick is majoring in bad secondary reads over the last two months. His 19 interceptions for the year are the NFL’s worst. And the Orange Crush defense, which was generally embarrassed by Air Brady last Sunday, is looking to exact some revenge on a lesser offense. Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil should be blitzing and causing havoc all afternoon.
Even the Bills typical home field December advantage isn’t as great with Denver. The Broncos certainly know how to play in frigid weather – the forecast for Saturday in Buffalo – high of 38 and a snow storm. Having a stacked running game certainly helps in those sorts of conditions as well.
But, as they say, games are not played on paper. This one will definitely be a nice way to spend the afternoon in front of the fire, wrapping last minute presents while waiting for Rudolf and his reindeer buddies.