The New England Patriots defeated the Buffalo Bills 40-32 in week two at Ralph Wilson Stadium, in Orchard Park, New York. The Bills made things interesting in the fourth quarter when they outscored the Pats 19-3, but it was early mistakes and foolish penalties that cost the Bills this early AFC East matchup. It is now week 11 and the Bills are in playoff contention, the first time Bills fans can say that in a while. The Bills play in their second straight prime time game, Monday night in Foxboro.
This time around, MVP candidate Tom Brady will be without two of his three favorite weapons. Emerging running back Dion Brown went down in week 9 against the Redskins when he went down with a knee injury. Brown was the perfect replacement for Shane Vereen who left for the New York Giants. Number 12 will also be without his favorite wide receiver in Julian Edelman with a broken foot. Those two targets combined for 17 receptions for 195 yards and two scores. Look for Brady to rely on Buffalo native Rob Gronkowski more than ever, and third year wide out Aaron Dobson. Let is not forget running back LeGarrette Blount who has the ability to have big games on the ground.
For the Bills offensively, first year quarterback Tyrod Taylor has thrown just four interceptions in the 7 games he has played in, with 3 of those picks coming in the Bills week two loss against the Patriots. While his numbers may not compare with Brady’s through the air, T-Mobile has made big plays with his legs, and has not only been able to manage games, but has the ability to make the big plays when needed. In the Bills last two games, LeSean McCoy has rushed for 112 yards in each contest. Looks for the Bills to run the ball not only with McCoy but also with the impressive rookie in Karlos Williams. Williams has shown that he cannot only run the ball inside the tackles, but he can bust one on the edges and run somebody over.
So what do the Bills have to do to win this game on the road?
- Limit their penalties. In their week two loss, the Bills committed 14 penalties for 140 yards. Some of these penalties came at critical times during the game, including some 15 yard personal fouls that kept the Patriots drives alive.
- Run the ball effectively to open up the passing game. Recently the Bills have been able to accomplish this with the running game of McCoy and Williams. The Patriots rank second overall in the NFL allowing just 88.2 rushing yards per game. It is for games like this that the Bills made the move to acquire McCoy.
- Bend but do not break defense. Tom Brady is going to put up his numbers. With the absence of Brown and Eedelman, Brady will find other targets such as Danny Amendola, and Scott Chandler. It is up to the Bills front four to put pressure on Brady and force him to make errant throws. It will be interesting to see what Rex’s game plan is for to slow down Gronkowski.
So do the Bills have a chance tonight? Absolutely. I am taking the Bills here to shock the world! Bills win 27-24.