Patriots Look to Even Up Against Bills

Christine Roy
September 28, 2012 at 05:47pm ET

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The Patriots are not used to looking up at the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East division standings. Heading into Sunday's game in Buffalo, there's pressure to make sure they find a way to make sure both teams walk away with a 2-2 record. The season is almost a quarter of the way through and it's time for the Patriots to assert their dominance.

Logan Mankins and the offensive line need to start protecting if they want to start winning. (FILE:USPresswire)

Here are three things to watch heading into Sunday's game:

1) The Pats' offensive line will need a big performance:

The key to victory on Sunday will likely lie in the protection of Tom Brady. The Patriots offensive line will have their hands full with a tough defensive line. Mario Williams and a familiar Mark Anderson will be rushing the edges trying to put pressure on Brady. It will be up to Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer and Marcus Cannon to hold strong and give him some time. He's been sacked seven times this season and his confidence is noticeably rattled. It's said every week but now the season is heating up and it's time for the offensive line to prove to Brady and the fans that they are capable of providing protection.

2) The pressure is on for New England's secondary:

The secondary will once again have a tough matchup. Steve Johnson is averaging 13.2 yards per catch and if left alone, he could be very dangerous. Ryan Fitzpatrick is not an elite quarterback so as long as the front seven can work to put pressure on him, the Johnson situation should take care of itself. But be aware that more is expected from this secondary. They have been giving up big gains to opposing teams and what they need to show is their ability to shut down a team's momentum on big downs.

3) The coaching element should be interesting to watch:

A final element to watch on Sunday will be on the sideline. Josh McDaniels has made some interesting calls these past few weeks and is clearly thinking outside the box. He got creative with an end around that ended up costing the Patriots fourteen yards due to poor execution. What he needs to do is work with the players he has and stop getting fancy. The Patriots do not run a sneaky offense with trick plays. McDaniels needs to incorporate Rob Gronkowski and utilize a screen pass every now and again. It will be nice to see Brady get into several rhythms during the game and march the offense downfield.

It's time for this Patriots team to start playing at the next level. The Buffalo Bills are a great place to start because they have some challenges, but overall it should be no contest. The Patriots have the same problems each week so we'll see if on Sunday they're able to put something together and find a way to elevate their game.