Game Preview: Buffalo Bills @ Detroit Lions

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Jay Cutler and Matt Stafford walk into a bar.

The Bar loses.

Game Details

  • Match-up: Buffalo Bills (2-2) @ Detroit Lions (3-1)
  • Location: Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan
  • Date: Sunday, October 5th
  • Time: 01:00 PM
  • TV: FOX

The Buffalo Bills return for their second NFC North matchup after previously beating the Chicago Bears at Chicago on the opening weekend in the NFL. Jim Schwartz, former head coach of the Detroit Lions and now defensive coordinator of the Bills, faces off against Detroit for the second time this season after the Bills and Lions played against each other in the final game of the preseason. The Bills defense is ranked 14th in total defense and 7th in points allowed per game.


Nick Fairley and Joique Bell are notable new injuries from last week for Detroit. Bell suffered a concussion against the Jets and has failed to pass the NFL’s concussion protocol thus far. Fairley was walking with a noticeable limp and was listed as “Limited” in the practice report due to a knee injury. Detroit has called up running back George Winn from the practice squad to take Bell’s place. The good news is that LaAdrian Waddle will likely return from a week one injury, as he took first team reps in practice.

For the Bills, Kyle Williams and Nigel Bradham did not practice on Wednesday. Both Williams and Bradham have been two of the Bills better defensive players, so losing them for the game could be huge. Williams does a little of everything, including a rare interception by the defensive tackle against the Chicago Bears.

Key Match-up

The Lions run defense vs. the Bills rushing attack. The Bills offense starts on the ground with CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson leading a two-headed attack. The Bills rank 13th in the NFL in rushing yards per game, but 25th in the NFL in passing yards per game. The Lions need to be able to stop the run, which is something Detroit has shown to be more than capable of doing thus far in the season. The Lions are ranked 6th in the NFL in run defense, allowing 80.8 running yards per game. If the Lions can stop the run and force newly appointed starting quarterback Kyle Orton to throw the ball, they could have a very good day on defense.

Players to Watch

Calvin Johnson and Kyle Orton.

Calvin Johnson was extremely limited in his last game due to an ankle sprain, playing just 57 percent of his team’s snaps and being nothing more than a decoy on a majority of those plays. He had just two catches for 12 yards. Johnson has said this week that he is feeling much better than he did last week, which is encouraging news. If he can return to form, the Lions offense will be for it.

Kyle Orton will be getting the start over EJ Manuel, who was benched this week due to his poor play. Orton has played in just four games since 2012, but he could still be an upgrade over Manuel. Sammy Watkins is certainly a supporter, claiming that the “football comes out quicker” with Orton as quarterback. It will be interesting to see if there are timing issues with the wide receivers, but Orton is a veteran and should handle pressure better than the second year player Manuel. For his career, Orton has passed for over 15,000 yards, 83 touchdowns to 59 interceptions, and a QB rating of 79.9. If Orton can show any kind of passing improvement over Manuel, the Bills could be the favorites in the AFC East.


The Lions defense will be too much for the Bills offense and the Lions should be able to score enough points to win.

Detroit Lions – 24

Buffalo Bills – 10