With the Red Sox taking all of the attention, and rightfully so, we’ve kind of forgotten about the Patriots. But this week, the Patriots have yet another primetime game, this time against division foe, the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football. The New England Patriots come in to this game at 5-2 on the season and are in first place in the AFC East while the Bills are having yet another season to forget. At 2-5 the Bills are one the fast track to another top 10 draft pick come April. But they do have some weapons that the Patriots should watch out for.
The Buffalo Bills Offense Will Put Up Points…
It sounds crazy to say this about a team that has only put up 81 points thus far. In three of their games, they put up five or less. Three vs. Ravens, None against the Packers, and five against the Colts. There highest scoring output was in a 27-6 win in Minnesota that shocked pretty much everybody in the football world. However; we’ve seen time and time again this season that this Patriots defense will allow points.
LeSean McCoy is still in concussion protocol and has been a shell of himself this season. McCoy has a track record of not really being able to play through injury and if that keeps up, he shouldn’t be that big of a pain for the Bills in this game. Although, as of right now he’s questionable and it looks like he may not play at all. So look for Chris Ivory and Josh Allen to take the bulk of the running load for the Bills. Ivory and Allen combined have 365 yards rushing on the year with four touchdowns.
Did I mention that Josh Allen is the starting QB for the Buffalo Bills? Oh yeah, another QB that can run which bodes oh so well for the Patriots. Allen on the year has connected on 54% of his passes with 832 yards and two touchdowns. The downside for Allen is he is susceptible to throwing INT’s as he does have five on the season. Allen has three favorite targets, Zay Jones, Charles Clay, and Kelvin Benjamin. He also likes to throw to McCoy who’s most likely out.
BUT, Allen isn’t playing either due to an elbow injury suffered October 14th when he sprained his UCL. So call in 13 year veteran Derek Anderson to save the day! Last week Anderson was a masterful 20-31 with 175 yards passing and three picks (sarcasm). The only time Anderson has played the Patriots was back in 2007 where he threw three picks as well as a member of the Browns in a 34-17 loss. Look for a lot of short, high percentage throws from Anderson in a game managing role. If the time is right, maybe they’ll try some deep passes against a Patriots defense that does love to give up the big play.
If the Patriots play like they usually do, they’ll shut down Benjamin and Jones but look for Charles Clay to have a field day. The Patriots this season are the ninth worst team against Tight Ends allowing nearly 68 yards per game against them. Furthermore, they’re allowing, on average, 8.5 points per game to tight ends. Clay only has 16 receptions on the season for 133 yards but he’ll be a match-up problem for the linebacking core.
The Bills Defense Won’t Help Them Out That Much…
Jerry Hughes has 4.5 sack on the season and is shaping up to be one of the best defensive ends in the league. Also forcing three fumbles on the year, he has to get into the backfield early and often if the Bills wish to keep this one close. A defense that has 19 sacks on the year can make Brady’s life a living hell. Until they realize that Brady is actually damn good against the blitz. However; the Bills do have a rather odd, yet small advantage.
Punter Corey Bojorquez was with the Patriots all pre season after trying out and making the 90 man roster. A man with a cannon for a leg and impressive hang time, he was released by the Patriots during final cuts. What was peculiar about this is that he dressed for all four preseason games yet didn’t see the field. The Buffalo Bills picked him up making him the immediate starter so he may have SOME insight into Patriots special teams coverage. Yet another weakness for the Patriots also.
-Brian Berard (@CouchGuyBrian)
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