New England Patriots pass offense vs. Buffalo Bills pass defense
Things will get ugly for the Buffalo Bills, because this pass defense is quite poor even when fully healthy. Jairus Byrd is one of the best safeties in the league and will cause some problems for the Patriots through the air, and the safety group as a whole is a strong point for the Bills. However, the cornerback position is an issue for Buffalo. Stephen Gilmore has come around nicely and Terrence McGee is decent, but Leodis McKelvin has been awful in the slot (Justin Rogers hasn’t been much better) and Aaron Williams has struggled mightily.
Unfortunately for the Bills, things are going to get even worse today. Williams and McGee are both out, with McGee being the only veteran presence on the outside. Gilmore should play but is listed questionable, so the Bills pass defense will likely be giving up more than 300 yards to Tom Brady once again.
Even if Aaron Hernandez does not play today, the Patriots won’t miss a beat. They didn’t in Week 8 against the St. Louis Rams, and the Rams were healthier and had a legitimate shutdown corner in Cortland Finnegan. The Bills troubles in the slot are going to be badly exposed by Wes Welker, and Rob Gronkowski will also have another huge game against Buffalo. The Bills have proven that they cannot contend with Gronk’s athletic ability.
The Bills pass rush has gotten better now that Mario Williams is healthy again, and Kyle Williams is a terror on the inside. But with Mark Anderson and Chris Kelsay out, that unit isn’t at full strength. The Pats might not play Logan Mankins, but Donald Thomas has been more than serviceable in his stead at left guard. Overall, I don’t expect Brady to see much pressure in this game, except for from the Williamses.
Patriots run offense vs. Bills run defense
In their first meeting, the New England Patriots managed to have two running backs notch over 100 yards in Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden. While Bolden will be out due to a suspension (he was injured anyway), the Patriots have more than enough depth to keep the running game working at a high level. Explosive No. 2 back Shane Vereen emerged in Bolden’s absence against the New York Jets, and he proved that he can also run in those one-yarders in Week 8 against the Rams.
This is going to be another game where we see Ridley shine, and the wheels have come off the Bills run defense ever since the Pats put up those huge rushing totals on the Bills in Week 4. This run defense is in shambles, and they will get exposed badly by Ridley.
Continue Reading to see how the Bills offense stacks up against the Patriots offense, as well as my final prediction.
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