Scouting Report: Bills defensive line vs Patriots offensive line


It goes without saying that the Buffalo Bills have one of the best, if not the very best, defensive lines in the NFL. Last year the Buffalo Bills lead the NFL in total sacks. This year they are once again leading the NFL in sacks and have the very best run defense in the entire NFL. Quite frankly, when you play the Bills you had better have a good offensive line or you may be in for a long day at the office.

We have heard all season long how the Patriots offensive line has been struggling and how it is affecting the play of Tom Brady. This weeks game against the hated New England Patriots may very well be decided in the trenches. With that being said, let’s take a look at how the Bills defensive line stacks up against the New England Patriots offensive line.

Last week in Detroit the Bills dominated the Lions offensive line, sacking Matt Stafford 6 times. It is no coincidence that the Lions struggled to move the ball and only mustered 7 offensive points. Even if you factor in the 3 missed field goals the Lions still did next to nothing on offense due in part to the domination of the Bills defensive line. The Bills defensive line spent the majority of the afternoon in the Lions backfield harassing Matthew Stafford and paving the way for a Bills comeback victory. The Bills defensive line is no joke and they will make an impact on the game Sunday. 5 weeks into the 2014 NFL season the Bills rank 1st in total sacks, recording 17 on the season.

The New England Patriots could once brag that they owned the best offensive line in the league. One of the reasons why the Patriots and Tom Brady had so much success on offense was due in part to the play of their offensive line. They rarely allowed Brady to be hit and it wasn’t really exposed that Tom Brady crumbles under the pressure of a good pass rush until Super Bowl XLII when Michael Strahan and company laid a beating on Brady. The Patriots offensive line only got older from that day forward, and now Tom Brady is depending on a completely remodeled offensive line to protect him. And the results have not been pretty.

In weeks 1, 3, and 4 the Patriots had difficulty moving the ball, protecting Tom Brady, and scoring points. What is the key behind this? That the Patriots faced stout defensive lines in each of those contests. In week 4 it was most evident when the Patriots faced the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night. It’s no coincidence that the Patriots offense struggled when you take into account that the Chiefs are 4th in the NFL with 15 sacks.

Taking a further look at just how bad the Patriots offensive line has been this far, we can look at how many sacks they have allowed. So far this season they have allowed 11 sacks, 10th most in the NFL. That is with only allowing one last week to the putrid Bengals defensive line. In week 2 the Patriots faced the Vikings. The Vikings also have a very poor defensive line, ranking 15th in total sacks. Against the Patriots the Vikings only recorded 1 sack. In the two games against poor defensive lines the Patriots allowed only 1 sack in each contest. And, if you remove those 2 games, they allowed 9 sacks in 3 games against the good defensive units they opposed. Considering the Bills have the very best defensive line, one can expect that number to be even higher on Sunday.

The so called “experts” have been chiming in this week that the Patriots offense finally found their rhythm last week in a victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. I disagree. The Bengals rank 20th in sacks with only 8 on the entire season. While it may have looked like the Patriots offensive line was playing better last week, I believe it had more to do with the fact that the Bengals have a terrible defensive line. The Patriots also looked great on offense against the Vikings. The Vikings also have a bad defensive line. See the pattern developing here?

If Tom Brady and the Patriots think they have their offensive line woes corrected after one win over the Bengals, who are now 1-11 in their last 12 prime-time road games, than they had better think again. More than any other year in the Brady era the Patriots lack play makers at the wide receiver position. This season we have also seen that Tom Brady is affected more than ever by a strong pass rush. He does not trust his offensive line or his receivers. If the Bills defensive line starts hitting Brady early it will be a long day at Ralph Wilson Stadium for the Patriots. A day that will end with the first Bills win over the Patriots since 2011, and with the Buffalo Bills in sole possession of first place in the AFC East.