W2W4: New England Patriots vs Buffalo Bills

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When the Patriots Run the Ball:

Mandatory Credit: Jim O’Connor-USA TODAY Sports

In week two the Patriots barely ran the ball as they stayed far away from the Bills’ ferocious defensive front. Since that matchup, the Bills have lost defensive tackle Kyle Williams to a sprained PCL. With Marcell Dareus, Mario Williams, and Jerry Hughes still up front, the Bills have been ok with Corbin Bryant, Alex Carrington, and Manny Lawson getting more playing time.


The Bills gave up 99 yards rushing to Jets running back Chris Ivory last week but were more focused on the passing game. In week two, the Patriots rushed just 10 times–not counting kneel-downs and end-arounds–despite having a 37-13 lead at the end of the third quarter. LeGarrette Blount was hardly a factor as he played seven snaps and rushed just twice as Dion Lewis played 73 snaps that game.


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Blount and backup receiving back James White are two new players for the Bills to account for in the running game. Since the Jets game in week seven, Blount has had 17, 29, and 19 attempts on the ground getting 267 yards and scoring a pair of touchdowns. Expect Blount to get more than the two carries he had in week two.


The BIlls are very strong up front even without Kyle Williams. Marcell Dareus is one of the most disruptive interior defenders and Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes are solid against the run. Preston Brown and Nigel Bradham continue to shine against the run at linebacker and are a key reason why the Bills are in the top ten in fewest yards allowed on the ground.


On the offensive line, the Patriots should be getting reinforcements in the nick of time. Tackles Marcus Cannon and Sebastian Vollmer should return and allow Bryan Stork to return to the interior and let Cameron Fleming serve as a rotational tackle to keep Cannon and Vollmer fresh. With Stork moving inside and Tre’ Jackson potentially ready to play as well, the Patriots should have some solid depth inside to rotate in blockers and stay fresh.


The Patriots may be able to run the ball more effectively than they did earlier in the season, but with Tom Brady at quarterback they do not usually run into the strong defensive line and linebackers of the Buffalo Bills. Unless the Patriots get ahead early, do not look for many attempts to test the Bills on the ground.


Next: When the Patriots Pass the Ball