Though it's a mere preseason game, two sides with huge expectations clash to see how far along their projects have come.
The Washington Redskins gave up a lot to trade for the No. 2 draft pick and handed Robert Griffin III the responsibility of being their franchise quarterback. The Buffalo Bills spent hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade their defensive unit and become relevant once again.
So while Redskins Nation will be hoping to see RG3 being the dynamic and electric player they intend on, the Bills plan on producing some RG three-and-outs.
The rookie has a lot of upside and is the clear-cut face of the franchise. Peyton Manning's first ever preseason pass went for a touchdown, so it's not uncommon for rookies to make plays the moment they hit the field. Griffin III is more athletic than Manning ever dreamed to be.
But Buffalo's defense is better suited for success in the preseason opener than Griffin III will be. Though Buffalo's starters expect to only play about 15 snaps (as reported by Buffalo News), those will be a few nightmarish minutes for the Baylor alum.
Going from little to no hitting with the same guys in training camp, RG3 will get his "welcome to the NFL moment" from the moment he first breaks the huddle.
There is a Shawne Merriman with something to prove. There is the hard-hitting playmaker in Kelvin Sheppard and experienced Nick Barnett. But, Griffin III wouldn't dare to look into the eyes of the defensive line, would he?
Mario Williams is the big bad wolf, and he is as hungry as ever. It's his first time repping the Bills uniform, first time playing in front of the Bills Mafia and the first time he gets to prove he's worth $100 million. Then there is a Pro Bowl player in Kyle Williams. Or the monster that is Marcell Dareus. Or even the under-the-radar Mark Anderson, who is fresh of a double-digit sack season and Super Bowl appearance.
Griffin III will get hit at some point, it's inevitable. The game will be as fast as an Aroldis Chapman fastball. The jitters and butterflies will be alive and well as RG3 gets his chance to prove what he is all about.
The fate of one franchise will square off against the investment of the other's. Griffin III will have his moments against the Bills. He will make a nice throw or make a play or two with his legs, but the show will belong to the Buffalo defense.
So while the final score of the game is what the rest of the NFL will see, the first 15 or so snaps will tell the true story. RG3 needs these snaps to adapt to the NFL game, but the Bills will make the transition as painful as possible.
Nothing can make Bills fans happier than Mario Williams and the turf making an RG3 sandwich, which will unfortunately not be endorsed by Griffin III and Subway. But maybe this game is RG3's welcome to the NFL moment.
Or maybe it's Williams' welcome to Buffalo moment.
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