After a relaxing bye week, the Patriots are back at it on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. This is a nice transition from a week off into the final half of the season. With a win on Sunday, the Patriots will be 2-0 over a divisional opponent. That will come in handy when playoffs come around and teams are fighting for home field advantage. The last time these two teams met up the Patriots scored 31 points in the fourth quarter to beat the Bills 52-28. On Sunday, they’ll look to get off to a strong start early and keep the lead all game long.
The Patriots still rank top among all other NFL teams when it comes to offense. They had a lot of work to do over the bye and here is what I’ll be looking for from this team on Sunday.
What kind of offense are the Patriots going to run and how will Aaron Hernandez factor in? (FILE:USPresswire)
1. Identity of Offense Just because you’re the best, that doesn’t mean you have all of the answers. What I want to see on Sunday is what this team is going to be offensively down the stretch. Are they going to commit to Stevan Ridley and the run game or is Brandon Lloyd going to be a more important part? What effect will the tight ends have on the offense? Hopefully a week of rest did Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez some good and they are able to come back healthy and 100%. Tom Brady is the commander of this ship and it will be interesting to see how he and Josh McDaniels have come together to give some direction to this offense.
2. Tom Brady’s Command It seems to me that Tom Brady has been a little off so far this season. Whether it’s low thrown balls or off-target passes, he hasn’t quite gotten into a groove. On Sunday it will be great to see him run the offense like he used to. Quick and effective, driving the ball down the throat of an opposing defense. He is 35 years old and obviously not the same quarterback we used to know, but deep down he still has it in him. The Bills are the perfect opponent to make moves on and it will be a good opportunity for him to try out any new techniques that popped up during his bye week film studies.
3. Fourth Quarter Finish The Patriots need to start finishing games in the fourth quarter. I’d like to see them be the last ones with the ball in their hands on Sunday. In addition to the offensive work that was done of the past two weeks, you better believe twice as much work was done on defense. The Patriots made a splash signing Buccaneer’s CB Aqib Talib, but he won’t be a factor until after this week due to a suspension for violating league rules regarding performance-enhancing drugs. So for this week Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty are going to have to shoulder the load and keep Buffalo at bay. Buffalo has one of the worst offenses in the league, ranking 25th out of 32, so hopefully that won’t be too much of a challenge.
It’s easy to look past Buffalo as a win but it’s never quite that way coming off a bye week. The Patriots will need to get back into the swing of things and get to playing their game. It’s a home crowd so hopefully that works to their advantage. These changes need to be come and they need to stick as all games are now must-win. Happy second half of the season, it’s time for us to see some true Patriots football.