By Danny Cox
Just three weeks ago, the New England Patriots easily defeated the Buffalo Bills, but a lot has happened since that time. Now, the Bills have won two in a row in impressive fashion and are looking like a much different team than the one that faced the Pats a few weeks ago. Things are not going to be as easy for the Patriots this week, despite coming off of a big victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Bills’ Season Record: 8-6
Buffalo has truly been up and down this entire season, but they’ve played very well in the last couple of weeks. They have huge victories over strong teams such as the Atlanta Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs, and Oakland Raiders, but they can collapse in a heartbeat as well. This game will likely be quite different than the one that saw the Pats easily defeat the Bills 23-3 less than a month ago.
Bills On Offense
LeSean McCoy is the focal point of the Bills’ offense and containing him on the ground and in the passing attack is what the Patriots truly need to focus on. If the Patriots can do that, it’s going to be much easier to pick apart a Bills’ passing game that really does not have a lot of big-time weapons and players.
Tyrod Taylor struggled a bit earlier this season and even found himself on the bench a couple of times, but he appears to have shaken off those problems. Taylor has been a much better quarterback as of late and New England will need to not only watch his arm, but also his feet since he is quite fast and agile.
Bills On Defense
Earlier this season, the Bills were giving up a lot of points and even saw three teams in a row score 34 points or more against them. In the last four games, only one team has scored more than 16 points, and that happened to be the Patriots. The secondary is really improving for Buffalo and they are not going to make it easy for Tom Brady to get the offense down the field.
One thing the Bills don’t have a lot of is a pass rush, but defensive end Shaq Lawson needs to be focused on and even double-teamed at times. The young man is a rising star in just his second year in the NFL and already has a career high in sacks with four.
Bills Players To Watch: TE Charles Clay and CB Tre’Davious White
Buffalo doesn’t have a lot of huge offensive weapons, but tight end Charles Clay is one of their gems. He leads the team with 457 yards and seven touchdowns, but it is McCoy who leads in receptions (67). Clay is a big target who is more of a receiver-tight end hybrid in the make of Marques Colston, and he is a lot to try and take down in the open field.
He’s only a rookie, but former LSU cornerback Tre’Davious White is already making a name for himself in the NFL with four interceptions this season and 57 tackles to go along with 18 passes defended. White is a big-time cover corner who is very fast and shows so much more size in him than his 5’11” frame displays.
This will be the first time White has been back on the same field as Rob Gronkowski since Gronk delivered a vicious late hit on him three weeks ago. Gronk’s hit left White with a concussion and earned the tight end a one-game suspension, but Bills coach Sean McDermott does not want his team thinking about retaliation.
After seeing the way the New England Patriots rebounded against the Pittsburgh Steelers, they appear to be the team to beat in the NFL right now. Expect the Bills to bring their best game to the field as they look to keep their playoff hopes alive, but also know that the Pats aren’t going to sleepwalk through this contest. With home field advantage possible this weekend, expect New England to come with all they’ve got.