Bills vs Patriots: Behind enemy lines with Musket Fire


As the Buffalo Bills prepare for the big game, we take an in-depth look at the New England Patriots

Well Buffalo Bills fans, the big game is nearly here – the week two matchup with the reigning Super Bowl champions. To say the people of Western New York are excited, would be considered somewhat of an understatement.

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Admittedly, the Bills face a daunting task, especially given the New England Patriots dominance, since Bill Belichick took over as head coach in 2000. Even playing at Ralph Wilson Stadium hasn’t offered much of an advantage, at least from a historical perspective.

With that being said, what do Rex Ryan and the Bills have to look out for on Sunday? We sat down with Musket Fire editor Connor Fulton, to get the inside scoop on the Patriots:

1) The Patriots got off to a great start of their Super Bowl champion defense last week. What impressed you most in the 28-21 win over the Steelers?

I was most impressed by how deliberately they targeted Rob Gronkowski. Tom Brady made it pretty obvious that he was going to throw to Gronk, but the Steelers still couldn’t stop him. The Patriots are so confident in their superhuman tight end that I think he’ll shatter a bunch of single-season records this year.

2) The Steelers gained 464 yards against the Pats defense. Is this anything to be concerned about, or can it just be put down to players getting into the flow of a new season?

Yes and no. Yes, it’s concerning because you never like to see your defense surrender over 400 yards in any game. But I’m also not very concerned about it because the nature of a Bill Belichick-coached team changes so much over the course of an entire season. The Pats’ front seven will take some time to get sorted out, but it is a very talented group and I would be surprised to see them struggle like that all season.

3) Let’s be honest, Tom Brady has pretty much had his way against Buffalo throughout his career. New England will deservedly be favorites on Sunday, but what – if anything – concerns you about the Bills team? 

Dec 28, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws the ball against the Buffalo Bills during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

A lot of things concern me: the stout front seven, the mobile quarterback and the wealth of offensive talent head the list.

The Patriots may have dominated the past 12, 13 years of regular season play with the Bills, but I have an enormous amount of respect for the wagon-circlers. Sundays that involve the Bills are stressful Sundays indeed.

4) As far as I’m concerned, the Patriots will win the AFC East as usual this season. Having said that, what is the biggest threat to their dominance of the division, which has seen them win it 12 of the previous 14 years.

While I agree with you that the Pats will prevail in the AFC East, I will say that I am mindful of the competition. The AFC East was the only division that saw all four teams navigate through Week one victoriously, and I think that’s foreshadowing of the rest of the season.

More so than the Jets and Dolphins, the Bills present a real threat to the Patriots, and it starts with their head coach. Rex Ryan knows how to get under Bill Belichick’s skin better than any other coach in the league.

5) Finally, let’s get down to the important business. Who’s going to win on Sunday, and why?

It will be tight in the first half, and then the Pats will pull away as the second half winds down. I predict a 30-20 Patriots win.

The Bills’ front seven will keep the Patriots’ ground game at bay during the first handful of drives, but as Brady airs it out to Gronk and Julian Edelman, the Bills’ defense will stretch a bit. LeGarrette Blount will be the difference as the game goes on.

Next: Can Stephon Gilmore contain Rob Gronkowski?

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