Yesterday Arian Foster was the top running back in our weekly composite rankings due to his matchup against the Bills, and later this afternoon when I begin writing my Sunday manifesto that features the top three most favorable and least favorable matchups, he’ll almost definitely occupy the top spot in the former category. Repetition leads to mental muscle memory, and eventually the memorization of multiplication tables, and also the biblical knowledge of the week’s potential top producers. It’s science.
But we wouldn’t be repeating this so often if it wasn’t worthy of your undivided attention. At this point, if you’re opposing a team that’s starting Foster, just take Sunday off and watch the entire first season of the X-Files on Netflix. Just because you’re not paranoid, it doesn’t mean they’re not after you.
Let’s review the list of rushing categories the Bills are last in defensively. Tell your boss you need the rest of the afternoon off.
- The Bills are allowing six yards per carry, which is a full yard behind the also woeful Saints.
- They’re allowing 176.9 rushing yards per game, which is nearly 100 yards behind the Bears, who are first in that category.
- They’ve allowed 13 rushing touchdowns, the only ground defense that’s in double digits in terms of stopping scoring.
- They’ve allowed 71 first downs on the ground, a rather astounding pace of 10.1 per game.
- They’re tied for last in runs of 20 yards or more after allowing 12, and along with the Chiefs (who have played one more game) this is another category in which the Bills are nearly alone with two digits beside their name.
Yeah, it gets worse, because the hope store in Buffalo has been stripped dry. In fact, we’re pretty sure it’s been burned, with only smouldering ashes remaining.
You’d think/hope that there was a reason for this calamity, and a specific glaring weakness that can be corrected. Maybe the Bills’ linebackers have poor speed and recognition (yes). Maybe the interior of the defensive line isn’t plugging holes and occupying blockers efficiently (yes).
Or maybe no one is doing their job ever, and there are holes in every place, all the time, every time.
#Bills run D allows 6.0 yards to the left sideline, 8.3 to the left side, 5.2 up the middle, 5.0 to the right and 6.5 to the right sideline.
— Chris Wesseling (@ChrisWesseling) November 2, 2012
So basically you’re telling me that if the Bills can somehow make Foster consistently run either up the middle or to the right, they have a hope to limit him to production that’s still about a full yard above league average per carry. Neat.
Prepare for Madden-like numbers, especially if this game stays remotely close, and especially with Ben Tate ruled out due to a hamstring injury. For deep leaguers, Justin Forsett has value too against this porous Bills rush defense. The fill-in for Tate has 79 rushing yards in limited work over the last two weeks (only 13 carries). He’s a tempting flex option, partly because of his burst while giving Foster a blow, but mostly because I’m a tempting flex option against the Bills.
We all are, especially this guy…