The New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills have been AFC rivals since 1960. The Patriots are coming into today’s matchup as the undefeated favorites over the 1-2 Buffalo Bills.
The Patriots and the Bills meet up this week for the 112th time in the regular season. The Patriots have won 14 of the last 15 meetings with the Bills at Foxboro, and 27 out of the last 30 overall.
Last week, the Bills shocked the Cardinals 33-18, including over 200 yards on the ground and 4 interceptions. That game was like Rex Ryan’s Super Bowl. The Bills played well in all phases to come out with the resounding victory.
New England is coming off a shutout win over the Texans as the Patriots defense and special teams dominated that game. Jacoby Brissett filled in for the injured, Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback and proved he had mental and physical toughness, after he suffered a right thumb injury during the game, but continued to play.
Who to Watch For
Presumably, the Patriots stick to the game plan that has worked these last three weeks – a balanced offense. The offensive line has looked a lot better this season than last and LeGarrette Blount will look for their help to hurdle the Bills. The defense and special teams look to build off the momentum from their last victory and whoever plays quarterback wants to keep this team on the undefeated track.
Bills running back, LeSean McCoy had a great game against the Cardinals, rushing for over 100 yards and two touchdowns. He will likely be looking down field into the arms of Patriots linebacker, Jamie Collins. Collins is one of the most athletic players on the Patriots defense who is coming off a 14-tackle performance, including one interception. The Patriots are 11th in the NFL in rush defense, so there should not be too much trouble in shutting down McCoy.
I was hoping for the Sammy Watkins versus Malcolm Butler matchup. However, Watkins has already been ruled out and placed on injured reserve, so the Bills will try to get the ball to Marquise Goodwin, wide receiver out of Texas. Goodwin is 3 for 118 and one touchdown this season with a career total 23 for 467 and 4 touchdowns. Butler might be assigned to defend Robert Woods instead. He seems to be a bit more explosive, with a career total of 163 for 1,919 and 11 touchdowns. With the Patriots 19th in the NFL on pass defense, whoever Taylor throws to might be a bit harder to defend.
Tyrod Taylor must be contained. He is a mobile quarterback, which can be tricky for a lot of defenses. Not only do you have to play deep for the long balls he likes to throw, but a defense has to watch Taylor’s own run game. This season, Taylor has averaged over 170 yards per game in the air and nearly 40 yards on the ground. It is important here for the front lineman to keep Taylor in the pocket and rely on the cornerbacks and safeties to defend down field.
Tom Brady is a master at picking apart defenses. He can usually find the weak spot and make plays to take advantage of that weak spot. This week, the Patriots do not have that luxury and Rex Ryan made it very clear how happy he is about that. The Patriots will be working with Jacoby Brissett and maybe even Julian Edelman at quarterback. The offense will be straightforward and both guys are prepared to do their best to exploit the Bills defense.
The Patriots are at home and have had an extra few days of rest. Brissett has proven he is capable of leading the offense. I say Patriots 31, Bills 13.