Week 1: Bills vs. Patriots
The Bills are ready for the start of the season after taking care of there QB situation and improving steadily during the preseason. They face a very tough test right out of the gate on the road against perennial powerhouse New England. It will be a good gauge as to where the team stands but it will most likely end up as the first loss of the season.
FACTS AND FIGURES
||Buffalo (0-0) vs. New England (0-0)
||Jim Nantz and Phil Simms
||Patriots by 9½
||Patriots lead 51-40-1
||Patriots 5 Straight Wins
||Patriots 35-7 in New England (2005)
|Patriots Offense (2005):
||Rush (24th); Pass (2nd); overall (7th)
|Patriots Defense (2005):
||Rush (8th); Pass (31st); overall (26th)
|Bills Off (2005):
||Rush (20th); Pass (29th); overall (28th)
|Bills Def (2005):
||Rush (31st); Pass (19th); overall (29th)
The Bills enter the season very healthy. The only injury of note on the active roster is safety Matt Bowen. He has a bone bruise in his lower leg that cost him three weeks of action. He is back practicing this week and should be available for the game. Veteran RB Joe Burns was placed on the season ending reserved/injured list with a forearm injury.
The Patriots should have promising young rookie RB Laurence Maroney in the lineup. He has a knee injury but is practicing and is not on the injury report. LB Tedy Bruschi has been slowed by a wrist injury in camp but he's expected to play although he has been limited in practice this week. Rookie WR Chad Jackson is not expected to play with a hamstring injury, he is listed as questionable and has been limited in practice. OL Stephen Neal has been limited in practice but is probable for the game. OT Nick Kaczur may not start with a shoulder injury. He is listed as questionable.
Bills Daily Injury Page
RB Willis McGhaee vs. LB Tedy Bruschi and DT Vince Wilfork:
The "all world" Bruschi will have to lead the brigade in stopping McGahee with Wilfork clogging the middle. If they can, it will be a long day for the Bills.
LT Mike Gandy vs. DE Richard Seymour:
Gandy will be looking to prove the Bills made the right call in keeping him in a starting role. He gets a big spot early going against the veteran Seymour.
QB J.P. Losman vs. HC Bill Belichick:
The Patriots head coach is a defensive genius and always has something up his sleeve. Losman has to be ready for everything in order to get his second stint as the starting QB off to a good start.
DTs Larry Tripplett and Tim Anderson vs. RB Corey Dillon:
How the young, lighter defensive tackles in the middle can swarm to the ball will go a long way in seeing if this unit can stop the run better than last year's unit. If they can't, it will be another long season.
DE Aaron Schobel vs. LT Matt Light:
Schobel has a relatively quiet preseason and is a streaky player by nature. He wants to get off to a good start but will play against a very solid tackle in Light.
SS Donte Whitner vs. QB Tom Brady:
The only rookie starter on this team is the quarterback of the defense. He needs to make the right calls against one of the best quarterbacks in the game. One mistake at a crucial time can cost the team a chance at this game.
LB Takeo Spikes vs. TE Ben Watson:
With Deion Branch holding out, Watson becomes the premier weapon for the Patriots receiving corps. Spikes moves to the strong side this year, meaning he will have the responsibility of defending Watson on many plays. Look for the Bills to give him help with Whitner.
When The Bills Have The Ball: The Bills will probably take a few shots deep down field early. If they are successful they can gain confidence and momentum. If they aren't successful they may at least loosen up the defense to get the running game going with McGahee. Look for the Bills to look for the homerun play throughout the game.
When The Patriots Have The Ball: The weakness of this defense looks like the run defense once again. Look for the Patriots to pound the ball against the light Bills defensive line all day long to tire them out. That could open up some big plays through the air.
BILLS DAILY PREDICTION
I get the feeling the Bills will come to play and be fired up for the season opener. The Patriots are probably easier to beat early in the year as they try to get past the whole Branch debacle and re-build team chemistry with lots of changes to the team. That being said however, they are at home and still are a much more talented and experienced team. I think the Bills will keep it close with some big plays from Losman. Unfortunately, with the big plays will probably come the big mistakes especially early in the season. One big mistake by Losman may be the difference:
Patriots 27, Bills 20
Season Prediction Record: (0-0)
Season Record Against The Spread: (0-0)
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