I know 100 people have already made a topic about their opinion, but I actually put more than a paragraph's worth of thought into mine. So whine to mommy, not to me.
Manuel looks a lot better than his preseason antihype made him look. Of course we must keep in mind he's riding the advantage of being mostly an unknown. Remember when Josh Freeman was considered to be a rising QB, potentially a star someday? My how times change.
It looks to me like his short yardage game is on point and he LOVES the TE. His deep throws are a little shaky in the accuracy department but he has the arm to make the distance, and that TD to Steve Johnson was MONEY. He perfectly placed it where only his man could get to it. It was a more intermediate throw, not a long bomb, but it was well placed.
Of course, as a rookie he makes mistakes. He appears to have a pretty good O-Line in front of him, he had plenty of time to throw back there. He has good pocket awareness and doesn't seem to be afraid of the pass rush. Then again, he's never faced a group of guys like Monsterz Inc. This sunday will show just how icy his blood really is.
If the Panthers can take away the run like they did with Seattle, they can take away a rookie QB's best friend and crutch. If the Bills offense can be made one dimensional by Carolina's dominant D-Line, things could get ugly for the Bills. If they are forced to throw to get their yards and first downs, they could get demolished in the turnover differential. The Panthers D is, on the front end, one of the best in the league. Our secondary is questionable, but there are a few players in there who, though they lack truly great coverage skills, have the ability to take advantage of mistakes by the opposing offense. Luke Kuechly will be monstering this week, I predict. IMO he's just too smart to be bested by a rookie QB. I also think our corners need to come up with one or two INTs if Buffalo's offense is to be shut down. With the run game shut down and constant pressure bearing down, I think two INTs is more than a reasonable prediction. Then again, if the Bills constantly go to short dinks and dunks they will manage to get into the endzone at least once or twice. We all know the Panthers have been weak against short range passes for, what, a decade now?
Basically, we have to shut down the run and apply constant pressure and take advantage of rookie mistakes. That is the gameplan for shutting down Buffalo's offense.
Their defense is a different story. Their LBs are nothing to write home about, but their D-Line is at least as good as Seattle's was last week (They were missing a few pieces), but I believe they are better actually. Their secondary is also nothing to shake a stick at. We all know the name Jairus Byrd from the offseason Huddlehype(©Kurb), and Stephon Gilmore was a highly rated prospect in the Draft. Their secondary was tried in the fire last week, holding the notoriously prolific Patriots to an astoundingly manageable 273 yards. These guys are as good as Seattle's lauded secondary, though they will never get the credit for it. The media is just posting this as the struggling Patriots rather than the Bills are legit. We all know that feeling all too well.
The way we can beat their defense is by attacking the middle. Greg Olsen should have a huge day, and Smitty could have a big one in the slot as well. That's why it worries me when I hear Rivera talking about having a more vertical passing game. The Bills D is most vulnerable to a short to intermediate passing attack, so that should definitely be the way this team needs to go. It also plays into our hands to do that, because their D-Line (Also quietly legit) will be pounding our rollerskate rink of an O-Line all game long. We all have to hope to God we can get a running game going and keep them on their heels, because that's the only way this passing game is going to get open. If we can get a little help from the defense in some turnovers and maybe some good field position from the STs, this game could be a Panthers W. But it could very easily go the other way if our Offense struggles and our D can't control their short to intermediate passing game. Don't sleep on Buffalo, though, this could be a struggle down until the very last seconds of the game.
Piece of advice to the team: Ball control offense is great and all, but don't limit yourself. Take whatever you can get, fug mercy. We want dead bodies, and blood makes the grass grow.