This Sunday at 1pm it’s the Bills vs. Patriots in a key divisional matchup. We went behind enemy lines and asked FanSided’s Patriots expert Connor Fulton from MusketFire.com five questions about New England.
1) Looking at the Patriots schedule we see only two decent chances of them losing for the rest of the season. Against Seattle at home Week 10 and at Denver Week 15. Do you see the Patriots losing any more games this season and which matchup do you think is their best chance for a loss?
You nailed it with the Seahawks and Broncos because both of those teams don’t have to blitz to pressure the quarterback, which is the best way to beat Tom Brady. It helps that the Pats get Seattle at home, but that game could go either way. As for the Broncos, I actually expect the Patriots to lose, mainly because Brady has struggled mightily in Denver over the course of his career (2-6 record in Mile High). If there is one other game that could pose issues for the Pats, I would say this week against the Bills in Buffalo, honestly.
2) Many Bills fans were sad to see Chris Hogan go in the offseason but the Patriots made an offer that Buffalo couldn’t match. What are your first impressions of the former Buffalo Bill and do you think he was worth the money?
I absolutely love Hogan. He fits perfectly in New England as the No. 2 wide receiver who can stretch the field surprisingly well. He’s a lot like Brandon LaFell in 2014, echoing the heavy machinery of Rob Gronkowski, Martellus Bennett and Julian Edelman in the aerial attack. Without a doubt, he was worth the money. The Pats had a plan for Hogan from the start, and he’s fulfilling that role.
3) Obviously, with Tom Brady back everything has changed for the Patriots since their last meeting with Buffalo. Besides the noticeable boost at quarterback, what else do the Patriots need to do better than last time they played the Bills to make sure they come out of Buffalo with a victory?
If LeSean McCoy and the Buffalo rushing attack runs all over the Patriots’ defense again, this will be anyone’s game. The longer the Bills have the ball, the harder it is going to be for the Patriots to score points on that strong Buffalo defense. Furthermore, it is paramount that the Patriots establish the LeGarrette Blount-led ground game to take some of the heat off Brady.
4) Last we saw Buffalo play the Patriots, Bill Belichick was noticeably frustrated and smashed his tablet. Bill normally keeps his emotions in check. Any chance Rex got under his skin? Does Belichick respect Rex in your opinion at all? Do you think Belichick wants to win this one more than a normal game?
I’d say Bill slamming the tablet was less about Rex, and had more to do with the simple fact that the Patriots were underachieving in every facet of the game that afternoon. There were more problems than just a struggling rookie quarterback. Certainly, Bill respects Rex… after all, Rex stopped the Patriots in their tracks in the 2010 Divisional Round among other big wins. Look, Bill is aware that there are tried and true ways to beat his team, and Rex is as good as anyone at exploiting those weaknesses.
5) What’s your prediction for the game and why?
It’s going to be tight in the beginning, but I have the Pats winning this one by a fair margin. Another big game out of Blount and some highlight reel plays from Hogan will power the Patriots to a 30-16 win.