New England Patriots Week Two Game Preview: Battling the Buffalo Bills

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Sep 13, 2015; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) runs with the ball as Indianapolis Colts strong safety Clayton Geathers (42) pursues during the first half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of the unimpressive pass rush last week, the Patriots front seven will need to set the tone against inexperienced quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Taylor does have some game tape against the Patriots, as the Baltimore Ravens called on him for mop-up duty. He was 1 of 4 passing for 2 yards, threw a pick-six and had a fumble returned for a touchdown. He did most of his damage on the ground and did rush 3 times for 39 yards.  

Taylor surprised many with a strong performance about the Colts, but as Bill Parcells used to say “Let’s not start on his bust for the Hall of Fame”. The Indianapolis Colts have proved again and again that their defense is an afterthought. Cornerback Darius Butler was run out of town in New England five years ago and the Colts had him in single coverage against Percy Harvin with no safety help. That is simply a bad coaching performance.

The Patriots may not have the depth at cornerback which was present last year, but they are better than they get credit for in the media. Bradley Fletcher actually played well last week other than the almost touchdown pass when Ben Roethlisberger got outside containment. Tarell Brown did well splitting time in the slot and outside and allowed just 1 reception on for 11 yards on 4 targets covering Markus Wheaton. Are Percy Harvin and Robert Woods really going to do much better catching passes from Taylor than Markus Wheaton and Darrius Heyward-Bey did last week targeted on passes from Roethlisberger against Fletcher and Brown?

So the next big matchup for New England cornerback Malcolm Butler is Sammy Watkins. Forget the statistics, Antonio Brown did a lot of damage in the fourth quarter with the Patriots in prevent defense. Butler was beaten twice by Antonio Brown. Brown, by the way, is arguably the best (or at worst second-best behind Demaryius Thomas) wide receiver in the AFC. Sammy Watkins is an exciting young player, but he is looking like the third or fourth best wide receiver in his draft class.

Tyrod Taylor had an efficient performance last week in his first NFL start against a weak Indianapolis Colts defense. Look for Bill Belichick and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia to bring pressure up the middle and use his defensive ends to contain Taylor and keep him in the pocket. Without the option to getting outside and making plays the New England defense will force Taylor to only be able to make plays with his arms. In that situation, this week will be a real test for the young quaterback.