Matchups to Watch
Battle in the Trenches (Patriots DL vs. Bills OL/Patriots OL vs. Bills DL)
The Patriots have done a good job the last two weeks limiting both the Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans on the ground. They will need to call upon their defensive front to stop a talented duo in QB Tyrod Taylor and RB LeSean McCoy.
Last week, the Patriots dared the Texans to run on them, but expect them this week to load up the box. This is one of the more important matchups during this game because if the Patriots cannot contain the Bills rushing attack, it could get ugly quick.
As for the Patriots OL, they will be in for a challenge as pressure will be disguised and coming from different directions. So far this season, the offensive line has done well in pass protection and run blocking, however, they have done a better job in pass protection.
Looking back to last week, QB Carson Palmer was harassed all day long thanks to sub-par play by the offensive line and his own bad decisions. He finished the game with an ugly stat line of: 26-50 (52%), 4INTs, 5 SCKs, 36.0 Rating. Protection will be key if the Patriots want a chance to stay in this game.
Players to Watch
QB Tyrod Taylor
Aside from McCoy, the Patriots will likely gameplan to force Taylor to try to beat them with his arm. But that’s not the only thing they must monitor – Taylor can also beat teams with his legs. Look for the Patriots to have a spy in the middle of the field at times to make sure he doesn’t make big plays.
As long as the secondary can keep everything in front of them, the Bills may struggle to push the ball downfield. The Patriots secondary has the advantage over the Bills wide receivers with Sammy Watkins placed on IR, so Taylor may be forced to hold the ball longer than he wants to.
Gilmore has been making a statement as one of the best cornerbacks in the league the last two seasons. Not to say he is the next Darrelle Revis, but it may be smart to avoid his side as much as they can. Again, both Patriots QBs are not 100%, so limiting throwing to his side would benefit them.