Buffalo Bills: 3 keys to a victory over the Patriots in primetime

(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

BuffaLowDown’s DJ Eberle breaks down the Buffalo Bills’ Week 8 matchup against the New England Patriots, including the three keys to the game.

A 32-point loss to a one-win Indianapolis Colts team was rather surprising for the Buffalo Bills. Despite starting the recently-signed Derek Anderson at quarterback.

Now the Bills are facing the New England Patriots at New Era Field on Monday night. And Buffalo’s a double-digit home underdog.

That is not surprising, however.

And if the Bills play the Patriots like they did Indianapolis, it could be a whole lot uglier than 37-5.

Each week during the regular season this column will provide the three ways the Bills can secure a victory. So, without further ado, here are the Three Keys to the Game for the matchup against the Patriots, which kicks off 8 p.m. Monday at New Era Field on ESPN.

Get after Tom Brady

Believe it or not, but Tom Brady has not been very good this season. Or at least compared to what we’ve come to expect from him.

Brady has a 99.7 passer rating, which ranks 11th, and has thrown seven interceptions already. Those are not Brady-like numbers.

However, Brady has been tremendous under pressure this season.

The veteran quarterback sports a 82.9 passer rating when under pressure, according the Pro Football Focus. That’s good for third-best in the league. Brady’s thrown a league-leading seven touchdowns while under pressure, too.

If there’s one saving grace in this matchup, it’s that the Patriots haven’t faced quite the pass rush like the Bills – by the numbers – yet.

Jerry Hughes is second in total pressures among edge defenders with 36. Lorenzo Alexander has the top PFF grade among edge defenders (90.3) and has the best passer rating allowed for his position.

While the Bills will be without Trent Murphy, they still have a lot of potential to get after the quarterback.

Establish the run

The Patriots are as good as it gets on offense.

Brady. Rob Gronkowski. Josh Gordon. Sony Michel. Julian Edelman. James White. Doesn’t get much better than that.

If the Bills are going to have a shot, they’ll have to run the ball and run it effectively.

Getting LeSean McCoy back would be a big boost for the Buffalo offense. Without him, relying on Chris Ivory and Marcus Murphy could be troubling.

The Patriots run defense ranks 24th heading into the weekend. There will be opportunities for the Bills to move the ball.

A big night from the crowd

This is the Bills’ first Monday night home game in eight seasons.

If that wasn’t a big deal, Thurman Thomas is also getting his number retired.

New Era Field has a special opportunity to be rocking Monday. If there was a matchup that needed the crowd, it’s this one.

Prediction: Patriots 24, Bills 17

We see improvement on both sides of the ball, but at the end of the day, Buffalo can’t score enough points to keep up.

Next. 5 potential trade targets as the deadline approaches. dark

If both McCoy and Anderson don’t suit up Monday, it could get bad real fast.