San Francisco 49ers (1-4 SU, 1-4 ATS) vs. Buffalo Bills (3-2 SU, 3-2 ATS)
Week 6 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, October 16, 2016 at 1PM EST
Where: New Era Field, Buffalo, New York
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: SF +7.5/BUF -7.5
Over/Under Total: 44.5
The San Francisco 49ers come to New Era Field to face the Buffalo Bills on Sunday in week 6 action. San Francisco has again gotten off to a good start that has fallen flat. A week one shutout win over the Rams was followed by four straight losses and reality is starting to set in for the Niners. On Thursday Night Football, they fell to the Cardinals at home, 33-21. With some extra time off, they hope to come up with something for the Bills this Sunday. It won't be easy against a Buffalo bunch that has righted the ship after a rough 0-2 start. Three straight wins have them at 3-2 following a 30-19 road win against the Rams on Sunday.
One of those things is a change at QB, with Blaine Gabbert struggling some within this offense. It's not even Gabbert's fault necessarily, as many quarterbacks would be struggling with the devoid cast of playmakers the Niners have at their disposal. Still, Gabbert's two picks and no touchdowns against the Cardinals underlined his limitations. He has a live arm and a good set of legs, as he ran for 70 yards and a score, but his standing as an NFL starter is tenuous at best. The star of Colin Kaepernick has dropped precipitously, but he might be able to help, with the offense not really turning over.
Still, the Chip Kelly-run Niners are a little more-explosive on offense this season. They have their moments and have been moderately-competitive in spots this season. They're not the no-hope San Fran bunch we saw at times last season. But the problems with Kelly remain—a dangerous offense combined with a defense that is run ragged with Kelly's hit-and-miss high tempo offensive approach. On one hand, Kelly was able to take a 4-12 Eagles team and get them to the playoffs at 10-6 in his first season. But then we've seen mostly bad things from Kelly since then. When it works, it can pay off and it sometimes does as shown in their 28-0 drubbing of the Rams who went on to have a lot of success elsewhere. But when it doesn't work, it's hard for this team to cover spreads, much less win. And that's been established in the four games since the win over the Rams.
Again, it's hard for the Niners to make this work with the talent at their avail on offense. Having to choose between Gabbert and Kaepernick is more about who stinks less. Carlos Hyde has his moments, but is hardly the breakthrough back they need to make this offense work. Their aerial package is almost bone-dry with Jeremy Kerley the only dependable force they have right now, with TE Brent Celek a decent option. Vance McDonald is good at TE, but has been hampered by injuries. Torrey Smith has apparently lost all his mojo, as there is no good reason he should have a miserable 9 catches through five games. They underachieve and are therefore the last-ranked passing-offense in the whole league. And looking at Kaepernick's most-recent performances, it's iffy how much relief is really available.
The defense officially hit bottom last season, but they are heading in a possibly worse direction now after giving up 33 to a Drew Stanton-led Cardinals team on Thursday. They've given up 140 points in their last four games following their season-opening shutout win. And a bunch of guys are banged-up throughout the defense. The line, in particular, has been pretty ramshackle, struggling with applying a consistent pass-rush, as well as being ultra-porous against the run. Week after week, opposing running backs are posting huge stats against this bunch and it's not just star backs, as Christine Michael, Fozzy Whitaker, and David Johnson last week torched this bunch. It's not hard to see why this defense is run ragged more often than not.
Hats off to the Bills for getting off their backs after a rough start to the season. Before week three, they looked to be panicking and spiraling. Three wins later, it's a completely different situation. In their last two wins, they beat teams on the road who had been on winning streaks. And that followed a dominant win over the Cardinals that got the ball rolling. Entering what looked like a tough stretch, this spurt was unexpected.
Bills' QB Tyrod Taylor has been doing his job and pecking away effectively. TE Charles Clay led the way with 73 yards, while Justin Hunter and Marquise Goodwin added touchdown receptions. LeSean McCoy has been showing the form of old, as he ran for 150 yards on the day. Add in a robust defense and that's the recipe for the Bills success. They can really run the heck out of the ball and that part of the game has been coming together during this 3-game streak.
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The defense was key to the upset win for Buffalo over the 3-1 Rams. In the third quarter in a tie game, former USC star Nickell Robey-Coleman returned an interception for a touchdown, which was a dagger in a close game. He had two picks on the day. The Rams were able to move the ball some, but drives often times died. Lorenzo Alexander had three sacks on the afternoon. Only in one of four red zone visits did the Rams get a TD. It takes a lot of character to come back from such a bad start. One shouldn't expect the Bills to be so easily parted with this good feeling. And having a defense has given up just 37 points in the last three games will certainly help.
Buffalo returns home after two road games to a home throng that should certainly appreciate the turnaround. And for the Niners, this is a daunting road trip in a locale in which they are not accustomed. Buffalo isn't for everybody. And with the Frisco offense sputtering, this seems like a bad week to get things on the right track. I see Buffalo winning comfortably.
Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Buffalo Bills minus 7.5 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today by signing up and beting the San Francisco vs. Buffalo game at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!