Falcons vs. Bills: 4 Critical Matchups For Week 13

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons may lose, but may they go down swinging.

We've reached the part of the season where everything I write is going to garner a fair number of "who cares?" comments. We're all ready to see a quality off-season and put an ugly year behind us, but there's five weeks left to go. You're stuck with me.

I will, however, be shortening articles like this to avoid fatigue setting in. These games still must be played and I'll personally be pulling hard for wins, but I know your mileage may vary.We'll be running down the matchups that count for Atlanta versus Buffalo while excising many, many words.

Short and sweet, now.

Falcons Pass Rush vs. E.J. Manuel

The Falcons have only a middling pass rush in 2013, with most of the team's sacks coming in short bursts. They're generating better pressure than those sack numbers would indicate, but it's not enough to bring the team anywhere close to elite.

Like Geno Smith before him, E.J. Manuel has a rough time dealing with pressure. As Brian Galliford told us, his mechanics can fall apart under pressure, which means a steady pass rush will go a long way toward stopping the Bills. It didn't work against the Jets, sadly, but hopefully they can get something going here.

Peter Konz vs. Marcell Dareus

If Konz can't hold down right guard, Ryan is going to be destroyed by Marcell Dareus. If he finally plays well, he can help limit the damage from a vicious Bills pass rush.

I could be feeling more optimistic about this one.

Tony Gonzalez vs. Bills Defense

The Bills have not done a great job of slowing opposing tight ends. Tony Gonzalez had a long week to heal up a bit. That should add up to a pretty decent game from the veteran, who has been relatively quiet for weeks now. I'm hoping he'll buast out and have a huge game before all is said and done. He deserves a few more of those.

C.J Spiller/Fred Jackson vs. Falcons Front Seven

Mash Manuel and you've still got to deal with the dynamic duo at running back. Both have been slowed by injuries and general ineffectiveness in recent weeks, but if we've learned anything in 2013, it's that basically anyone can run and run well against the Falcons.

The return of Malliciah Goodman should help, but this isn't going to be as easy as it looks.

Your critical matchups?

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