It’s almost time for the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills to battle it out for first place place in the AFC East. The winner of this game based upon the Rams and the Jets game, just might have sole possession of the East by the weekend’s end. The Patriots are at home in the friendly confines of Gillette Stadium. The home town crowd and a very familiar field, just might make this week’s game a little easier on us. So let’s get right into this weeks keys to victory vs Buffalo for the New England.
1 – Expose Buffalo’s Defense:
With three starters out on the Bills defense this will be a good week for Matt Cassel to expose the weaknesses. The Bills “D” has been tested the last few weeks with the Dolphins and Jets placing 25 plus points up on them. Let’s force them into mistakes, we need Randy Moss and the speedy Wes Welker to break coverage’s and take some pressure of Cassel. With the likes of Aaron Schobel, Brad Butler and Donte Whitner gone and back-ups in their starting rotation, it just adds more pressure on an all ready shaky defense.
2 – Patriots Running Game:
With only three backs healthy enough to play, we need to continue to play smart and injury free. With Kevin Faulk being the primary back, the Pats also have BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Heath Evans to move the ball on the ground. Green-Ellis has filled in nicely for Sammy Morris and LaMont Jordan the last few weeks. With Green-Ellis scoring a touchdown in the last two games and Faulk providing relief in the air and on the ground. It just helps the Pats to mix up the offensive play calling and keep the defenses guessing. If the Patriots are able to grind it out on the ground and kill the clock it only benefits Cassel and the rest of the offense.
3 – Special Teams:
The special teams will need to step up and do what they have done all year. And that’s been nearly perfect, no matter if it’s Chris Hanson punting or Stephen Gostkowski (19 of 20) being nearly perfect in the kicking game. Gostkowski gives New England another great scoring option. Basically all we need to do it get the ball to about our opponents thirty yard line, and give him about a forty-seven yard field goal try. And with some of the problems our red-zone offense has had lately he’s a great option to be able to depend on. Look for me of Welker and Faulk back to return the kickoffs and punts this weekend with Ellis Hobbs listed as questionable due to injury. We need our returners to open the field up, that means twenty plus yards per return or even better just do it all on special teams and return one to the house. Makes things a lot easier and always gets the fans fired up. And Hanson he’s getting much more work this year as opposed to last year where he only punted twenty six times over the course of the season.
4 – Stop Buffalo’s Big 3:
The big three are quarterback Trent Edwards, receiver Lee Evans and back Marshawn Lynch. Edwards has had a decent year so far, throwing for 1725 yards and six td’s with only five interceptions in just seven games. With the speed of Evans and the lack of confidence in our own secondary and the injuries we have been dealing it, it just might make a long day trying to contain and keep him in check. Lynch provides the Bills with a double threat from the back field. Not only can he move the ball on the ground, but the defense needs to be aware Edwards will utilize Lynch on short passing situations also. Lynch has the moves and the ability to burn you in a second, making a few jukes as he flies right past a defender. If NE allows them to get in their rhythm and style on offense, I’m not sure we have enough healthy defensive players that will be able to relieve our guys and get them a breather. The less time the defense is on the field the better off New England will be. Look for pressure to be placed on Edwards from the start of the game, with it coming early and often. If we rattle Edwards it will force the quarterback into forcing throws, which we can hopefully pick off stopping any drive they might get going.
5 – Lose The Mental Mistakes:
Anyone who watched the last game against the Colts knows what I mean. The mental mistakes we showed cost us that victory. We need to play smartly and wisely. Catch the ball’s that Cassel lays up their for you. That means going up and getting them if needed, and of course not allowing them to slip right through your fingertips. Let’s not be hitting opponents either after the whistles been blown. You do know that’s illegal and we get us a huge fifteen yard unsportsmanlike penalty. Remember last week talk about a game killing mistake. Play focused and with determination, everyone in the league had us counted out early after Tom Brady went down in the first quarter of week one. First place is on the line over the next two weeks with division opponents coming to our house. Take care of business this week and them get ready to face the Jets on Thursday night.
No matter what happens with Buffalo, we have a quick turn around for Thursday night. But in the next five days if we can walk away with two more victories it will only make that ten day layoff easier to deal with. Here’s where we can make our move and distance ourselves from the rest of the division over the next three weeks. We win these games and it makes the end of the season and the possibility of tie breaker’s coming into play easier for us. And it shows the rest of the NFL we still a team to reckon with. GO PATRIOTS!
Topics: Aaron Schobel, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Brad Butler, Buffalo Bills, Chris Hanson, Donte Whitner, Ellis Hobbs, Gillete Stadium, Heath Evans, Kevin Faulk, LaMont Jordan, Lee Evans, Marshawn Lynch, Matt Cassel, New England Patriots, Randy Moss, Sammy Morris, Stephen Gostkowski, Tom Brady, Trent Edwards, Wes Welker