Three Keys: Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots


Ahead of this weekend’s critical AFC East matchup at the Ralph between the Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots, here are three things to look at that will determine the outcome of the game:

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  • 1) Bills D-Line vs. New England’s O-Line: Tom Brady is ninth in the league for being sacked in the league with being taken down 10 times. The Bills were tied for the league lead with 17 going into Thursday night’s Colts/Texans game. Marcell Dareus is third in the league with 5 sacks and Mario Williams is tied for eighth with 3.5. The winner of this game could very well come down to the trenches, and if the Bills can pressure Brady and continue to raise that sack total, Buffalo could very well beat the Pats for only their third time in 28 tries. Without Logan Mankins, the Patriots are going to have to use that quick pass scheme again to keep the Bills off of them. The Patriots offensive line is not very good, and the Bills defensive line is considered one of the best in the league. Expect Tom Brady to be tasting a lot of the Ralph Wilson Stadium turf in this one.

    2) The rookie vs. the Vet: Sammy Watkins was one of the most promising players coming out of the draft. Darrelle Revis is one of the best cornerbacks, if not the best, in the league. These two will undoubtedly go head to head on Sunday, and it will pose as a very interesting matchup. The Bills will need to still target Watkins often, as Sammy is a home run threat whenever he gets the ball. Also, if thrown in the area, (a la catch in Detroit to set up field goal) teams have seen that he can catch the ball. As far as Revis is concerned, he used to have the Bills’ number. He had four interceptions in his first five matchups with Buffalo. But he’s only been able to record one pick in his last four matchups. If the old Revis shows up, the Bills are going to have to target a lot of Robert Woods and Mike Williams because Watkins will most likely be on lockdown.

    3) Was Kyle Orton a fluke? People following the Bills know what Kyle Orton brings. He’s 36-35 in his career, and many people were relieved that he came in. Others were saying that the Bills were settling for average again. After a very good second-half performance in Detroit, he will look to continue that momentum into a game against a team that he has had success against in the past. Orton threw for 330 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with a pick, in a 20-17 win against the Patriots in 2009. This defense is much tougher than that 09 version, and it is because of the man mentioned above along with Jerod Mayo and Dont’a Hightower at linebacker.

    The Bills are going to need to need these three things to go in their favor to take down the Brady and Belichick combination for only the second time. The Bills are also looking to beat the Pats for only the third time in 28 tries. One other thing to expect: a raucous Ralph crowd. With new ownership, the Pats coming to town, and first place in the AFC East on the line, the 12th Man in Buffalo will be determined to impact the game as much as possible.