If there was one
disturbing factor in the Bills' blowout of the Raiders, it was that in the
early going, when it was still a game, LA. quarterback Jay Schroeder was
getting a lot of time to scan the field and throw. Too much time. His problem
was reading the coverage and delivering to the right person.
The Giants' Jeff
Hostetler didn't have that luxury when he faced the Bills in December, after
Phil Simms went down with a severely sprained right arch. He didn't have any
luxuries at all. He came in cold. He hadn't taken the snaps in practice. The
Giants could score only three points while he was running things, but the game
wasn't a true test. Buffalo was still fighting for a division title. The Giants
had already clinched theirs. The edge was off.
a lot of courage against the 49ers on Sunday, coming back from a scary shot on
his left knee by Jim Burt to march his team down the field for the winning
score. Going into the game, the jury was out on Hostetler, who had started only
four regular-season games in a seven-year pro career, but he showed poise under
postseason pressure and the ability to read a defense and deliver the ball to
the right man. Plus, he can run.
offensive concept is interesting. He'll open a game by pounding an opponent
that looks soft against the run, often loading up with two or three tight ends.
But against a team with a good run-defense scheme, he'll throw early, to get
the other guys pass-conscious and take some of the zip out of their legs. Then
he'll come back with the heavy stuff.
It's a sound,
low-risk offense, backed up by an even sounder defense. Will that be enough to
harness the Buffalo whirlwind that scored 95 points in two playoff games? I
don't think so. We'll go with the hot team. The pick: Bills 24, Giants 17.