Week 17: Bills vs. Patriots
How quickly does the NFL season fly by? It flies by quicker when you never play in January. The Bills wrap up the season with four goals: Stopping a ten game losing streak against the Patriots, playing spoiler in the AFC East race, and trying to finish at .500 to show at least slight improvement over the first two years of the Dick Jauron regime. This will also be their last chance to try and save their beleaguered head coach's job. The Patriots need a win and some help to get into the playoffs so they will come in with their guns blazing trying to get a win.
Sunday, Dec. 28th
FACTS AND FIGURES
||Buffalo (7-8) vs. New England (10-5)
||Ralph Wilson Stadium
||Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf
||Patriots by 6½
||Patriots lead 56-40-1 (Bills 0-1 in playoffs)
||Patriots Won 10
||Patriots 20-10 in New England (2008)
||Rush (7th); Pass (10th); overall (4th)
||Rush (12th); Pass (15th); overall (10th)
||Rush (16th); Pass (20th); overall (25th)
||Rush (19th); Pass (16th); overall (20th)
Marshawn Lynch couldn't make it through the Broncos game as his sore shoulder was bothering him. He is expected to play this week though. Jabari Greer season is likely over as well as he has been battling a sprained knee for the past month. Jason Peters is questionable with a sore knee. James Hardy is out with a torn ACL. Teddy Lehman has been battling a hamstring injury and will also likely miss the finale.
The Patriots have a number of injuries. Richard Seymour is slowed with a back injury. LB Tedy Bruschi has a knee problem. S James Sanders is battling sore ribs and fellow safety Ray Ventrone has an ankle injury. DL Ty Warren missed the second half of last week's game against Arizona with a groin problem and LB Gary Guyton is sidelined with an ankle injury.
Check out our Bills Daily Injury Page throughout the week for the latest updates on the injured players.
CB Terrence McGee vs. WR Randy Moss:
McGee and Moss played pretty much to a draw in the first meeting so this will be an interesting rematch.
CB Leodis McKelvin vs. WR Wes Welker:
Welker is the number one receiver and will likely be matched up with McKelvin. This will be a huge test for the rookie, if he struggles than the Bills may swap sides and put McGee on Welker.
DT Marcus Stroud vs. RB Sammy Morris:
Stroud has struggled in recent weeks and needs to clog up the middle to stop Morris from running wild. If he can do that it will make the Patriots one dimensional.
LT Jason Peters or Kirk Chambers vs. DE Richard Seymour:
Peters made the Pro Bowl on name only, Seymour is a real Pro Bowler as he has eight sacks on the season. Peters needs to show that he deserves to be going to Hawaii against one of the all time greats at his position. If he can't go, Chambers will have a real tough time and need some help from the running backs, guard, and maybe a second tight end.
RBs Marshawn Lynch and/or Fred Jackson vs. LB Jerod Mayo:
The rookie Mayo continues his fantastic season as he is far and away the tackle leader for the Patriots. Whoever runs the ball for the Bills needs to watch out for him first and foremost.
C Duke Preston vs. NT Vince Wilfork:
Wilfork owned Preston in the first matchup and the Bills don't matchup well against 3-4 defenses. Preston did a better job against the Jets Kris Jenkins the second time around so maybe he can do a better job against Wilfork in round two of their battle.
When The Bills Have The Ball: They will likely try to spread the field and attack the Patriots through the air weather permitting. They want Trent Edwards to go into the offseason on a high note and with Lynch banged up the passing game will be featured.
When The Patriots Have The Ball: They start with another emerging star at QB in Matt Cassel. How do they constantly find diamonds in the rough at the most important position? They also have two wide receivers that will finish with over 1,000 yards receiving and a great receiving back in Kevin Faulk. So what do you think they'll do? They will attack the Bills early and often in the air with crossing patterns over the middle of the field.
BILLS DAILY PREDICTION
The Bills showed against Denver that they will not lay down and die. They are not giving up despite being out of the playoffs and they have more to play for this week against a hated division rival. If the defense can slow down the Patriots passing attack they have a chance. For some strange reason I think the New England drought comes to an end with a second straight stunning win in a wild finale:
Bills 33, Patriots 30
Season Prediction Record: (9-6)
Season Record Against The Spread: (9-6)
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