Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots: Three Keys to the Game


Three things to look out for, when the Buffalo Bills face off against the New England Patriots

After a dominating performance against the Indianapolis Colts last week, the Buffalo Bills demonstrated what the future could hold for them. Fans are quite rightly excited about the possibilities.

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However, the defending Super Bowl champions are in town. And considering the New England Patriots are the barometer for the AFC East, Sunday’s game will be a HUGE test.

Here’s this week’s Three Keys to the Game for the matchup with the Patriots, which kicks off Sunday at 1 p.m. from Ralph Wilson Stadium:

1) The pass rush needs to be on point.

There’s no denying that the Bills’ strongest position group is their defensive line. And Buffalo will need a strong showing from its “Cold Front” Sunday, if it wants to slow down Tom Brady and Co.

Marcell Dareus being back from suspension certainly helps the cause. Add to this to the likelihood that New England is expected to start three rookies upfront, and the Cold Front should feast.

If Buffalo can get pressure there’s a good chance they’ll be able to contain Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski to a degree. If Gronk is held to an 80-yard, one-touchdown day, the Bills will have a good shot at winning the game.

2) Get Sammy Watkins the ball.

I actually don’t have much of a problem with Sammy Watkins only receiving two targets last week. He was shadowed by one of the best shutdown cornerbacks in the league in Vontae Davis and double-teamed at times.

Since Watkins was being double-teamed, guys like Percy Harvin were able to break free. It was a win-win.

This week there is no Davis, or anyone even close, in the New England secondary. Watkins will eat them alive.

The second-year wideout is one of the best kept secrets in the NFL, and New England is about to meet the real Sammy Watkins.

I know, you’re likely thinking: “What? Watkins was drafted fourth overall in 2014. How is he a secret?” But think about it – on the list of rookie wide receivers from last year, Watkins was probably third behind Odell Beckham Jr. and Mike Evans.

Watkins is probably the most-talented of the three. The first-round draft pick has the skills to become a top-five wide receiver in the NFL, but hasn’t had the opportunities to show his true talents yet.

That won’t be the case Sunday.

Expect a big day from Watkins – like a 150 yards and two touchdowns-type of big day. An effective game from Watkins and the rest of the Bills wide receivers should open up the run game, as well.

3) Rock the Ralph!

The crowd noise inside Ralph Wilson Stadium was electric last week. It has to be even louder today.

The crowd clearly affected Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis offense. With a lot of noise Sunday, that can happen all over again, especially against an inexperienced offensive line.

Prediction: Bills win 34-28

The Bills’ defense and passing offense will prove to be too much for the defending champs. The Patriots secondary is a shell of itself from a season ago and Tyrod Taylor will be able to pick the defensive backs apart.

Not to mention the Ralph will be the loudest its ever been Sunday afternoon, especially with Guinness World Records in town.

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