One key in the last match-up with Buffalo was the Patriots able to play with a lead. Buffalo started the game with 13 play, 66-yard drive that ended with a poor decision by Tyrod Taylor throwing an interception to former Bills practice squad player Eric Lee at the one-yard line.
Although the Patriots’ ensuing drive stalled out after getting into Buffalo territory, it led to a 50-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski and a lead the Patriots never relinquished.
The Bills defense played very well forcing the Patriots to play left-handed and run the ball 25 times. New England was facing light fronts devised to drop extra defensive backs and their linebackers into coverage to take away the short passing game.
Unlike the second Miami game, the Patriots were able to nurse a lead until the offense woke up. That is a big part of being able to establish the run and wear down defenses when the passing game is lagging.
Jumping to an early lead is vital to taking the energy out of a motivated Buffalo squad.