The New England Patriots are getting ready to face off against the Buffalo Bills, and it’s time to take a look at five players to watch out for on the Bills offense in Foxborough on Sunday.
1. C.J. Spiller
The Bills really do need to give this guy more touches, because he has clearly been the best player on the team this season and has been much better than Fred Jackson. To be fair, Jackson was playing far from 100%, but the gap between them in yards per carry is huge. Jackson is off to a rough start to the season with a 3.7 average, while C.J. Spiller has been on a roll with 7.2 yards per carry. Yes, 7.2.
That’s clearly the best in the NFL at this point, and I think it’s fair to say that Spiller has been the league’s best back this year- even better than Stevan Ridley or Marshawn Lynch. It’s not Spiller’s fault that his team isn’t smart enough to give him more carries, because Spiller is clearly the most elusive back in the NFL. He’s been the best of them all this season, and he leads the league in PFF’s elusive rating stat. He was ranked 23rd in their mid-season top 51.
Oh, he also has 24 catches. It’s a good thing the Patriots have arguably the best run defense in the league to try and contain him.
2. Scott Chandler
A nightmare in the red zone, Scott Chandler has four touchdown receptions this season and has been the second best player on the Bills offense this year. He is tied for the second-most targets on the team, but the problem is that he isn’t nearly as consistent as the Bills would like him to be (53.7% catch rate). But he does stretch the field better than most TEs and is a matchup nightmare for the New England Patriots. He had a big game last time these two teams played, and Chandler loves feeding off of subpar coverage from linebackers.
3. Stevie Johnson
Ryan Fitzpatrick is always looking Johnson’s way, as evidenced by his 71 targets which is 30 more than the two guys second on the Bills target list. He’s going to be worse in this game due to a thigh contusion, but Johnson is definitely the player through which the passing attack runs through. It’s been a poor year for him, because he hasn’t even caught half of what has been thrown at him and is thus averaging just under six yards per target.
Johnson caught just two passes against the Pats in the first meeting of the season, and I honestly feel like he’s in for another rough day.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.