The 11-2 New England Patriots travel to Buffalo to take on the 4-10 Buffalo Bills. The Patriots are coming off a victory over the Green Bay Packers where they were taken to the limit by an inexperienced quarterback. A win is a win in the NFL, but the Patriots will need to limit mistakes in order to escape with another victory. Buffalo is not as talented as Green Bay but has enough playmakers, at their disposal, to do damage. Buffalo is coming off a victory over the Miami Dolphins and is 4-2 over their last 6 after starting the season 0-8.
In their previous meeting of the season, the Patriots won 38-30 in week 3. The game was a lot closer than expected and seems like ages ago for both teams. The Bills were in the midst of an 8 game losing streak to open the season and the Patriots were in the process of finding themselves defensively and even had some guy named Randy Moss.
The game today has a lot riding on it, a win for the Patriots will clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs and a win for the Bills will end their 14 game losing streak to New England and will help them end their 2010 season on a high note.
Keys To The Game:
Ben Jarvis Green Ellis Vs Bills Run Defense
BJGE is coming off a relatively low rushing effort with 6 carries for 38 yards versus Green Bay. Take away his 33 yard TD run and he had 5 carries for 5 yards. BJGE will need to step up and show that he can get the tough yards against the league’s worst rushing defense. Over the last two weeks, the Bills have shut down Miami (65 yards rushing) and Cleveland (105 yards rushing) and will look to do the same in order to remain competitive with the Patriots.
Ryan Fitzpatrick Vs Patriot Secondary
Fitzpatrick has been extremely effective since being named the starting QB for the Buffalo Bills. The Harvard grad has a TD pass in every game played this season and will need to take advantage of what the Patriots give him in this game. The Patriots allowed essentially a rookie QB to move the ball against them last week and cannot afford to repeat this mistake. The bend don’t break defense is a risky one and could blow up at anytime. Fitzpatrick is prone to making some mistakes and whether or not New England can capitalize on them could decide the outcome of the game.
Advantage: Ryan Fitzpatrick
Tom Brady Vs Buffalo Secondary
The strength of the Bills defense is their secondary where they rank 7th overall in passing defense. Granted, they have not played a quality QB in 4 games, but numbers do not lie. The Patriots will need to jump on the Bills quick and keep the pressure on in order to keep Buffalo from remaining in the game as they previously did in week 3. Brady has the ability to take over an entire game and might need to with how the Bills run defense has been playing lately.
Advantage: Tom Brady
Couple of injury updates to note:
Aaron Hernandez (Hip) and Dan Connolly (Concussion) have been ruled out of Sunday’s game.
Some stats that may or may not shock you:
The Patriots have a 14 game winning streak against the Bills and have won 19 of the last 21.
With a win over Green Bay, the Patriots have now defeated every NFL team at Gillette Stadium.
Tom Brady has thrown for over 30 TD’s for the second (2007) time in his career.
Tom Brady set an NFL record with at least 2 TD’s and no Int’s on 7 straight games.
The 60 wins against the Bills is the most against any one opponent.
Tom Brady has gone 292 pass attempts without an Int.
BJGE’s 33 yard TD run was the longest run of his career. 29 yards was his previous high.
Buffalo has the league worst rushing defense. 158.6 yards per game.
102nd meeting between the two teams.
Bill Belichick is 9-1 against the Bills as head coach of the Patriots.