Bills Get Ready To Suit Up In Preseason Final Week & Master Lions

Buffalo Bills in action

Monday, August 29, 2016 6:32 PM GMT

The Bills travel to Motown to meet the Lions in the preseason finale. Let's analyze this matchup and get on the sharp side in our NFL picks for this Thursday night showdown.

I wrote two articles last week where I revealed my NFL picks for Week 3 of the exhibition season. One article had under in the Steelers/Saints game coupled with the Vikings -4 over the Chargers. Both cashed, as did the Texans over the Cardinals in my other column. Despite the NFL odds makers attempting to toss curveballs on the preseason lines they are dealing, we remain rock solid and market wise.

As of this Sunday's evening writing, we stand at a blazing 7-1-2 over the first three weeks of the NFL preseason, guaranteeing a winning exhibition run with a fattened bankroll as we head into Week 4 of the preseason campaign and then Week 1 of the regular season when the games begin in earnest. Let's take a peek at the Bills/Lions game on Thursday night where we can keep this ATM dispensing more cold hard cash.

 

Rex Takes Heat as Starters Rest
Head coach of the Buffalo Bills, Rex Ryan, has a thick skin and he needed it as he took plenty of criticism in the team's 21-16 loss to the Washington Redskins. The jeers from the Buffalo faithful would have been markedly muffled, had the way in which the Bills lost come in any other week but the revered Week 3 of the exhibition slate. That is of course, unofficially known as the dress rehearsal for the regular season when the starters get plenty of reps and finally break a sweat against other starting units for the majority of the game. Rex decided to eschew conventional wisdom and rested the leading men for most of the game as the tryouts for the understudies continued without missing a beat.

"I feel pretty good about the guys that I sat, obviously, and I don't think we can afford to get them hurt," Ryan said. "It's as simple as that, and I don't care about the criticism."

In addition to the outcome and the fact that Bills starting QB Tyrod Taylor played only two series going 2-of-5 for 11 yards before backup E.J. Manuel took the helm, who was 21 of 39 for 221 yards and a pick, there were key players who didn't see a second of action. LeSean McCoy, DT Kyle Williams, linebacker Jerry Hughes and secondary men Ronald Darby and Stephon Gilmore sat throughout. There were also a pair of season-ending injuries with TE Chris Gragg and DB Jonathan Dowling both suffering torn ACL's. Rookie running back Jonathan Williams, a 5th rounder out of Arkansas, blazed a 37-yard path to the endzone before going out with a rib injury.

 

Betting Analysis
The only thing worse than losing in Week 3 without your starters, is getting waxed with your starters. The Detroit Lions did just that as they could not keep pace with an injury plagued Baltimore Ravens squad and dropped a lopsided 30-9 decision. Mathew Stafford's performance was pretty much emblematic of his often underwhelming career thus far. At times he looks like the brilliant master of the universe the Lions drafted first overall in 2009 but all too often he is downright pedestrian as he was in Week 3 when he completed 14-of-23 for 95 yards, no TD's and one interception in a 30-9 throttling at the hands of the Ravens.

As these two uninspiring preseason squads get ready to suit up in the final week of the meaningless preseason, we can be sure that many of the starters will be taking the pads off early and watching the bubble players fight it out for the all too few roster spots available. If that is the case, and it is, why not go with the team that gave their backups plenty of reps the week before and will get just as many in the preseason finale? The Buffalo Bills are my pick as even Rex Ryan understands he is on a short leash this season as winning is imperative and his tenure thus far has been more than mildly disappointing.

Expect the Bills to come out firing as EJ Manuel has been a starter and will be the main man under center again this coming week. He may not be a No.1 guy per se but he's got that experience under his belt and against a defense that allowed the Ravens to ring up 30 points, I think he may have quite a day against the Lions second and third teamers.

 

Free NFL Pick: Bills +3  -105
Best Line Offered: at Heritage
Swinger’s Preseason Record: 7-1-2 (+5.9 units)

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