The Minnesota Vikings head east to play the Buffalo Bills this week at 7:30pm EST and the Vikings are hoping to rebound from their loss to the Houston Texans. Meanwhile, the Bills would like to build on last week’s win, but are taking a little chance in the formula which worked last week.
We’ll talk about that and a few other things you should watch when the teams meet tonight.
1) While the Bills had success last week with rookie quarterback EJ Manuel, they’ve chosen to go a different direction in the second preseason game. Kevin Kolb, fresh off being beaten up by a rubber mat, will get the start. While Manuel had a real up and down day, he showed an awful lot of progress and we saw flashes of the huge upside he has. Meanwhile, unless he’s started eating his Wheaties and summoning up the spirit of Slingin’ Sammy Baugh, we know what Kolb is – decidedly average. This may be a move to erase any doubt who the starter is or it might be a sign that head coach Doug Marrone and his staff have less confidence in what they’ve seen from Manuel than we in the press have.
2) Speaking of quarterbacks, we may not see a ton of Christian Ponder but what we see has to end on a better note than last week. While a guy like Mark Sanchez was allowed to bounce back from his awful interception, Ponder ended up out of the game. After two plays. While that was likely by design rather because of the interception, Ponder deserved to be given a chance to bounce back from an early error. He’s under tremendous scrutiny this year and rightfully so. He needs to come out tonight and place mistake free football. Even if it’s just for a pair of passes.
3) The battle among the Buffalo wide receivers continues to be interesting to watch. T.J. Graham is out tonight, which leaves a lot of opportunity to watch rookies Robert Woods (current frontrunner), Marquise Goodwin an Da’Rick Rogers. Don’t overlook second-year player Marcus Easley, who had a strong game last week and has played well in camp.
Andrew Garda is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association. He is also a member of the fantasy football staff at Footballguys.com and an NFL writer at Bleacher Report. You can follow him at @andrew_garda on Twitter.