Week 4: Bills vs. Patriots
The Bills take on what should be a very motivated New England Patriots team. They are under .500 for the first time since losing to the Bills on opening day 2003. The Bills can put two games between them and the rival Pats with a win but it won't be easy.
Sunday, Sept. 30th
FACTS AND FIGURES
||Buffalo (2-1) vs. New England (1-2)
||Ralph Wilson Stadium
||Network: CBS; DirecTV: 708; Sirius: 117
||Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf
||Patriots by 4
||Patriots lead 61-41-1 (Bills 0-1 in playoffs)
||Patriots Won 1
||Patriots 49-21 in New England (2011)
||Rush (12th); Pass (9th); overall (9th)
||Rush (7th); Pass (24th); overall (14th)
||Rush (3rd); Pass (26th); overall (11th)
||Rush (14th); Pass (19th); overall (17th)
The Bills are pretty healthy at every position but running back. They will almost surely be without C.J. Spiller who suffered a left shoulder injury in the win over Cleveland. They hope to get Fred Jackson back as he is practicing but slowed by his sprained knee. He has missed the last two games. Ruvell Martin remains sidelined with an ankle injury and Leodis McKelvin has missed practice time this week with a groin injury but should play.
The Patriots will be without TE Aaron Hernandez who has an ankle injury. WR Julian Edelman has a hand injury and Guard Logan Mankins has missed practice time with a hip injury.
Check out our Bills Daily Injury Page throughout the week for the latest updates on the injured players.
LT Cordy Glenn vs. DE Chandler Jones:
It is a battle of highly touted rookies. 2nd round pick Glenn is blossoming quickly in front of our eyes and goes against the Patriots sack leader in 1st round pick Jones.
LB Bryan Scott vs. TE Rob Gronkowski:
The Bills moved Scott to linebacker full time so he can cover big tight ends. They don't come any better than the Western New York native Gronkowski. He is the best in the league and turns it up a notch against his hometown team. Scott is enjoying a great start to the season now that he can concentrate on one position.
LB Kelvin Sheppard vs. RB Stevan Ridley:
The two players are close friends which should help make it a great matchup. If Sheppard can stop the young back than it makes the Pats one dimensional. Of course being pass happy with Brady is a recipe the Patriots have used with success for years.
CB Justin Rogers vs. WR Wes Welker:
Welker is back to his old self after a slow start. He is the king of the slot receivers so Rogers will be on the field most of the game covering him in the nickel package. It is a very tough order for the young but talented Rogers.
Bills RBs vs. LB Jerod Mayo:
It is unknown who will get the majority of the carries in the Bills injury riddled backfield. Regardless who does carry the rock they will have to watch Mayo closely who has almost double the amount of tackles as anyone else on his team.
WR Stevie Johnson vs. CB Devin McCourty:
Since the Bills aren't loaded at wide receiver Bill Belichick will likely try to find a way to shutdown Johnson. He will likely be double teamed a lot but McCourty will be the main guy covering him. He has started every game since being drafted in the first round in 2010.
KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Get Pressure On Brady With Front Four: If they don't pressure the great Tom Brady than he will pick them apart. They need to get pressure without blitzing which means the rebuilt defensive line needs to make him get rid of the ball fast. They built this DL with Brady in mind, it's time for it to payoff.
2. Win Special Teams Battle: It will be interesting to watch all of the Bills kicks. How will rookie Shawn Powell punt? Who will hold for Rian Lindell and will they be in sync? The advantage they have is in the return game. If Leodis McKelvin has some big returns that will give the Bills a chance to pull it out.
3. Control The Clock: The best way to keep the high potent Patriots offense off the field is to establish a ball control offense and that means running the ball with whoever is in the backfield.
BILLS DAILY PREDICTION
The Bills may have problems running into a buzz saw in the form of the defending conference champions. They should have some confidence since they beat them last year at Ralph Wilson Stadium. They will need the 12th man in full force to pull this game out. I just think they are catching the Patriots at the wrong time coming off two straight losses they will be out for blood. There may also be a bit of fallout in the locker room from the release of Brian Moorman. It all adds up to a tough game for the Bills:
Patriots 38, Bills 17
Season Prediction Record: (2-1)
Season Record Against The Spread: (2-1)
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