Week 10: Buffalo Bills At New England Patriots
- QuarterbackRyan Fitzpatrick is a solid quarterback for the Bills but he is not an elite passer. He is sharp and can read defenses, but he is going to struggle when he is asked to throw the ball over the top of the defense and go downfield with regularity. However, if he can step into his throw, Fitzpatrick is going to hit his receivers running the crossing pattern with regularity.The rested Patriots may be licking their chops at the thought of unleashing their passing game against the soft Bills. It should be another brilliant day from Tom Brady, who torched the Bills for 340 yards and three TDs in the first meeting of the season between these two former American Football League rivals. The Bills pass defense should be easy for Brady to pick apart.
- OffenseThe Bills probably don’t want to get into a track meet with the Patriots where Fitzpatrick is asked to exchange points with Brady. If they can control the game with the ground game, that might be a better alternative. The combination of C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson is one of the more potent running attacks in the league. Stevie Johnson is a big-play receiver who has hurt the Patriots in the past.The Patriots have added a solid ground game this year. Stevan Ridley has already run for 716 yards and he is averaging 4.8 yards per carry. That ground attack makes things much easier for tight end Rob Gronkowksi and wide receiver We sWelker. If Aaron Hernandez is at full speed and Brandon Lloyd can also make a contribution, the Patriots should be able to execute the game plan without a problem.
- DefenseThe Bills played a reasonable defensive game against the high-powered Texans, but they have been sieve-like throughout the year. Earlier this year, they gave up 97 point in back-to-back games against New England and San Francisco. The Bills rank 30th in overall defense and 30th in rushing defense.The Patriots traded for nasty Aqib Talib with the hope of improving their pass defense. They have nothing to lose with the acquisition because their pass defense is among the worst in football. Talib is a skilled one-on-one defender who should be on his best behavior for Bill Belichick. The Patriots are much better against the run as Vince Wilfork ties up blockers and closes down the interior.
- Special TeamsThe Bills have a chance to make things happen on special teams as versatile Brad Smith is a dangerous return man who already has returned one kickoff for a touchdown Rian Lindell is a decent placekicker, but he has had just nine field goal attempts this season.Stephen Gostkowski has been fairly consistent for the Patriots over the years, but he has missed three field goal attempts this season. Punter Zoltan Mesko has a strong leg and he is solid at placing the ball inside the 20-yard line. Devin McCourty is a dangerous return man who has returned one kickoff for a touchdown.
This is going to be a difficult assignment for the Bills. The Patriots are rested and they have the kind of offensive weapons to torture Buffalo head coach Chan Gailey and defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt. If the Patriots can show some improvement in their pass defense, they have a shot to win the AFC title once again.