After losing a heartbreaker to the New England Patriots in Week 1, the Buffalo Bills will host the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
Buffalo couldn't stave off Tom Brady in the final minutes, losing 23-21 after Stephen Gostkowski nailed a 35-yard field goal in the final seconds of the game.
Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel played well in his debut, throwing two touchdowns without an interception, but the Bills struggled to convert third downs (four of 13). C.J. Spiller had a rough outing, rushing for just 41 yards on 17 carries, and his job won't get any easier this week against the Panthers.
Cam Newton was stifled by Seattle's "Legion of Boom" secondary, passing for just 125 yards in the contest. He'll need to rebound with a big performance to lead his team to a road victory against the Bills this week.
Here's a look at this upcoming Panthers-Bills clash.
When: Sunday, Sept. 15, at 1 p.m. ET
Where: Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, N.Y.
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket
Betting Lines (via Covers)
- Over/Under: 44 pts.
- Spread: Buffalo (+3)
Panthers Injury Report (via NFL.com)
Bills Injury Report (via NFL.com)
|Dustin Hopkins||K||right Groin||Out|
Can Carolina Shut Down C.J. Spiller?
The Panthers drafted Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short with their first- and second-round picks with the vision that the two of them would anchor a dominant front seven.
With Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy wreaking havoc on the edges, and Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis and Jon Beason running in the second level, the only thing missing last year was a strong presence in the middle.
The Seahawks were one of the best rushing teams in the league last year, but the team was only able to rush for 70 yards against Carolina.
Spiller was similarly stymied last week against the Patriots, and it'll take an excellent showing by him and the team's offensive line to make headway against this Panthers defense.
Buffalo's secondary isn't nearly as good as Seattle's.
Newton is going to have a much better day against the Bills, and the Panthers will be able to run the ball against them.
Which team will win?
The Panthers will likely shut down Buffalo's running game, putting pressure on Manuel to win the game with his arm. Although the rookie has looked solid in preseason and in Week 1, he hasn't faced a front seven like the one Carolina features.
Newton will outplay Manuel, and the Panthers will win on the road.
Panthers win 27-17
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78