As the Bills prepare to head to Foxboro this weekend to take on their division rivals, New England Patriots, we here at BuffaLowDown entered enemy territory and asked Jamie Pacheco of Musket Fire to answer a few questions on behalf on the Patriots.
1. With a game last week against the Jets, and a game next week against the 2-0 Miami Dolphins, how is NE preparing not to overlook this game against the Buffalo Bills?
The mantra is New England since Bill Belichick became head coach has always been, “One game at a time.” The players this week have been talking about not overlooking Buffalo. They remember that Buffalo nearly won in the opener last season and played them tough in Buffalo later in the season. Quite frankly, after the half they had last week against the Jets, they know that they are not good enough to overlook any team. The fact that it is a divisional game also helps them keep their focus, but it all comes down to the, “One game at a time,” mantra from Belichick.
2. Who will step up for the injured Kevin Faulk, both off the field and in the locker room?
Luckily for the Pats, Kevin Faulk will be sticking around the stadium while he rehabs, so his presence in the locker room will be there. In fact, the day after we all learned the severity of his injury, he was the first player in the running backs meeting. On the field is a different story. Sammy Morris looks like the top candidate to step in, but he can’t do all of the things that Faulk could do. Really, nobody on the team can. Recent pick-up RB/WR Danny Woodhead, who was signed after the Jets released him, is also a candidate to step in for Faulk. Woodhead can be an effective receiver coming out of the backfield. It may turn into a platoon for the 3rd down back position if nobody stands out and can do every aspect of the position reasonably well.
3. What should Bills fans know about the Patriots two new rookie Tight Ends?
They’re playmakers. Rob Gronkowski is the complete package at tight end. He can catch, run routes, and block pretty well. Aaron Hernandez is more of a specialty player. He can line up at just about any skill position and is a tremendous pass catcher. He lacks the blocking ability of a quality TE. They are effective weapons that should be utilized more than they were last week.
4. What area do you say the Patriots taking advantage of the Bills both on offense and defense?
On offense, the Patriots have the advantage in the passing game. If the tight ends are included in the offense, there are too many weapons on the field and they will create some mismatches. The secondary of Buffalo is pretty good, but the Pats have them beat in just the number of options available. Defensively, they could struggle. Their run defense is pretty good out of the base 3-4, but if the Bills run in passing situations or with passing personnel on the field, they have the advantage. That is how the Jets gained their yards on the ground and it has been a problem since last season. Vince Wilfork talked about trying to fix that problem but until they prove they can do it, the Bills have the advantage, especially with their 3-headed monster at running back. The secondary, though young, is actually pretty solid. The weak point seems to be corner Darius Butler. If Lee Evans is matched up against Butler, he could have a big day, even with a new starter at QB. The safeties and rookie corner Devin McCourty are solid and should match-up pretty well against the rest of the Bills’ pass catchers.
5. What is your prediction (winner and score) for Sunday’s game?
Pats 27, Bills 20.