NFL Pre-Season Hall of Fame Game: New York Giants vs Buffalo Bills

2014 NFL Hall Of Fame Game
New York Giants vs Buffalo Bills

Fawcett Stadium – Canton, Ohio
Sunday, August 3, 2014, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: NBC
Opening Line: Buffalo -2 
Current Line: Buffalo -3 (-105)
Opening Total: 32
Current Total: 35
Opening Money Line: Bills -130 / Giants +110
Current Money Line: Bills -155 / Giants +135 

Eli manning and the Giants take on the Bills in the Hall of Fame Game Sunday in Canton, Ohio.

Eli manning and the Giants take on the Bills in the Hall of Fame Game Sunday in Canton, Ohio.

The NFL pre-season gets underway Sunday night in Canton, Ohio with the annual Hall of Fame Game between the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills. It should be a lively crowd as former Bills’ receiver Andre Reed and former Giants’ defensive end Michael Strahan were both inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame the day before. Thousands of Bills and Giants fans made the trip to Canton to see them inducted and will stay for the game.

Both teams had disappointing seasons last year but showed signs of life down the stretch. The Giants finished 7-9 after an 0-6 start. Buffalo went 6-10 but beat Jacksonville and Miami late in the season. The win against the Dolphins basically kept Miami out of the playoffs. New York was 7-9 ATS and the total was also 7-9. Buffalo was 8-8 ATS and the total was 10-6.

Last year, the Giants struggled on offense averaging 308 yards per game including 224 passing and 83 rushing yards. The Giants scored 18 points per game. They were #28 in the league out of 32 teams or worse in total offense, rushing and scoring offense. New York was good on defense allowing 332 yards per game including 223 passing yards and 109 rushing yards per game. New York allowed 24 points per game. They were in the top 10 in both total and passing defense. The biggest problem was turnovers as the Giants were -15 in that department.

Don’t expect to see the starters for very long for either team, maybe a series or two at the most. New York quarterback Eli Manning looks to rebound from one of his worst seasons in his career. He completed 57.5% of his passes for 3,818 yards with 18 touchdowns and 27 interceptions. He was also sacked 39 times in 2013. Manning had ankle surgery in May but is expected to be ready for the regular season. After Manning departs expect to see a lot of Curtis Painter and Ryan Nassib at quarterback.

The Giants signed running backs Rashad Jennings from the Oakland Raiders to join Andre Williams, Peyton Hillis and David Wilson. Jennings is listed at the top of the depth chart and looks to give a boost to the anemic running game. Jennings rushed for 733 yards and 6 touchdowns with the Raiders last year.

Victor Cruz is still the go-to receiver. He had 73 catches for 998 yards and 4 touchdowns. Rueben Randle, Jerrel Jernigan and the newly drafted Odell Beckham, Jr will also get a lot of targets. Tight end Adrien Robinson has only played in 3 NFL games but is listed at the top of the depth chart to replace Brandon Meyers now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Buffalo averaged 338 yards per game including the #2 rushing attack in the league at 144 yards per game. The passing game was #28 at 194 yards per game. Buffalo scored 21 points a game in 2013. The defense allowed 333 yards per game  last year. The pass defense allowed only 204 yards per game and was #4 in the league. However, the Bills struggled to stop the run allowing 128 yards per game on the ground which was #28 in the league. Buffalo allowed 24 points a game. Buffalo was +3 in turnovers last year.

Buffalo quarterback E.J. Manuel had an up and down rookie season last year. He missed six games with a knee injury. Manuel completed 58.8% of his passes for 1,972 yards with 11 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. Manuel also rushed for 186 yards and 2 touchdowns. He was sacked 28 times last season. After Manuel departs, expect to see Thaddeus Lewis, Jeff Tuel and Dennis Dixon at quarterback.

Running backs C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson each had around 200 carries and 900 yards in 2013. Jackson had 9 touchdowns and Spiller had 2 touchdowns. Each also contributed to the passing game, making at least 33 catches. Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon will also get a lot of carries tonight.

Buffalo has two of most exciting young wide receivers in the game with second year Robert Woods and rookie Sammy Watkins. Both are so good that it made longtime Bills’ receiver Stevie Johnson expendable and he was traded to San Francisco. Mike Williams, Marquis Goodwin, Marcus Easley and T.J. Graham will also see a lot of action tonight. Tight end Scott Chandler is solid and dependable.

It is hard to handicap pre-season games, especially when each team hasn’t played a game yet. You are betting on a lot of rookies and free agents that you have never seen play in an NFL game. I don’t like either side but I do like the game to go under 35 points. The total moved from 32 to 35.

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