New England Patriots fans had the luxury of having their team play the first game of the NFL season on Thursday night, where their team won fairly easy over the Pittsburgh Steelers, 28-21. Fans of the team had the entire weekend to enjoy the victory, and watch the rest of the league all day on Sunday. Now, the page has turned and it is, “On to Buffalo.” With Tom Brady starting under center, the Patriots are 23-3 against the Buffalo Bills. However, don’t let the statistics fool you, the Buffalo Bills are always a very formidable opponent, especially when the game is in Western New York.
On Sunday, the Bills took down the Indianapolis Colts by a score of 27-14, and it really wasn’t even that close. The Bills proved that they have a stout front seven, along with a power running game, and solid quarterback play from Tyrod Taylor. Rex Ryan took advantage of the softness of the Colts and kept Andrew Luck on his heels, forcing him to make bad decisions. In addition, his team played with a real swagger and toughness, not afraid to lay the boom.
In the ground game, Karlos Williams ran for fifty-five yards on six carries, with a touchdown. New addition Lesean McCoy ran for forty-one yards on seventeen attempts. Expect to see a better McCoy this weekend as he is still recovering from an injury. That is nerve-racking for a Patriots fan, due to the fact that the Steelers and DeAngelo Williams ran the ball all over their team in week one for 127 yards.
Tyrod Taylor did not have much expectation going into the week one matchup, but he showed some of the skills that made him effective at Virginia Tech. He finished the day, fourteen of nineteen, for one-hundred ninety-five yards, and one beautiful long touchdown pass to Percy Harvin. Harvin finished with five receptions, for seventy-nine yards and that one touchdown.
The Patriots will need to have all their pieces aligned this weekend when they travel to the always raucous Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park. The one thing that fans should be most worry-some about heading into this match up is the rotation of the offensive line. Against the Steelers, Bill Belichick rotated Nate Solder in and out along with Tre’ Jackson, Josh Kline and others.
Last September when the Patriots offensive line was at an all-time low of the Belichick era, one of the main causes was the rotation. The team struggled to get any groove and continuity going until week six. The offensive line held up in week one, against an average at best Pittsburgh front seven that is no longer a, “Steel Curtain.” Now they are going up against possibly the best defensive front in the National Football League. Mario Williams, Jerry Hughes, and Kyle Williams will be some of the players looking to make Tom Brady familiar with the turf.
The Buffalo secondary is decent at best, and Rex Ryan will be focusing on getting his defensive lineman into the backfield. The Patriots and Tom Brady need to thrive in the short passing game. Therefore, use Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, and Dion Lewis to your advantage moving the ball up and down the field gradually. Of course, in the red zone spread the two tight ends in Rob Gronkowski and Scott Chandler out wide and simply out size the Bill defense.
It will certainly be a very tough match up for the Patriots this coming Sunday. It has to be one of the three toughest games on the schedule. There will for sure be more analysis on the Bills throughout this week as we get the chance to break down their film from their week one match up. For now though, know that their front seven is elite, they will try to run it down the Patriots throat, and it will be one of the most hostile environments the Patriots will play in all season.