Buffalo has been having a nice little run offensively in this young season. Fitzpatrick is operating his offense extremely well. Fitzpatrick fits the short to intermediate distribution that the spread is based off of. His receivers are good with the ball in their hands, and they having been doing well advancing the ball after the catch. Fred Jackson is the most underrated player in the league, and the line is opening things up very well for him. They are very good at what they do, but unlike some of the elite spreads they do have some fatal flaws. The most glaring advantage Buffalo has had is the luck of going against some really bad tackling. The most important thing in defending the spread is put the receiver on the ground the instant they catch the ball. The spread operates mostly on gaining minor separation against man and advancing the ball after the catch. With the defense so spread out, it makes gang tackling near impossible and negates pursuit to a large degree. It is on the DB's to get those receivers down now. The Patriots are a very fundamentally sound team and I anticipate this key to hold true. The Buffalo offense is highly reliant upon short down and distances. They like to advance the ball in a series of moderate gains that leverage ball distribution and quick release. The interior routes are standard slot stuff. They do run basic body positioning option routes (ie corner technique dictated slant/arrow), as well as McDaniels style jerks and whips. They don't overload the intermediate areas like the Patriots do, but they do run a lot of clearouts and picks like the Pats. They are very clearly a man defense attack. This man attack is unique because they rarely exploit the sticks or deep man strikes outside the hashes. Why? Because the quarterback can't make those throws. He can't hit the seams of a cover-2, he can't drive the 15 yard out. So logically you encourage them to try to hit those routes. The Patriots corners have good ball skills and balls will not only sail on Fitzpatrick, but they also won't have the zip to make it through the zones. It is imperative to force incompletions and negative plays on first and second down. Obviously, man is the choice for this but this plays into the hands of the offense. Two high safety looks with very tightly played under zones (Patriots style cover and pass for example) will accomplish encouraging the seams and deep outs and still help setup long down and distance. I'm looking for much shorter drives in this defensive gameplan as Buffalo is a very good short field offense. Fred Jackson is tearing up the sub defenses. Spread and run is nothing new, but Jackson is such a great back for this because of his decision making, burst, and very interesting blend of tackle breaking skills. In the spread you must make it past the line and break the tackles of smaller, faster sub defenders. With most spread killers being attacking defenses decision making is critical. I would look for more 2-gap principals in this game as it clogs the rushing lanes and prevents Jackson from feeling the pursuit and breaking tackles. I don't view him as much of a threat to bounce one, so play your gaps and squeeze him. I'd look for more Spikes tomorrow. Ultimately, Buffalo is a nice little spread that Gailey is doing a good job with. It's a simple, limited, but effective offense that is executing well. The Patriots are a better unit matchup to matchup and if they can stop the spread run, win on first and second down, and if post game stats favor the tight end and deeper attempts on the outside the Pats should limit buffalo to under three scores.