The New England Patriots travel to face the Buffalo Bills in a week two divisional showdown.
Steve Balestrierei posted his thoughts earlier, and here are three additional keys to a Patriots victory.
— Get the Ball out of Brady’s hands Fast:
Buffalo has put together one of the best defensive unit’s in the NFL. Led by head coach Rex Ryan, the Bills will be coming early and often to attack Tom Brady.
New England pass catchers will likely have to deal with press-man coverage, so getting off jams and creating separation will be key. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Brady will need to orchestrate a game plan that gets the ball out of his hands in order to evade pressure.
Expect the Patriots to try and spread out Buffalo’s defense and use a quick passing game to chip their way downfield.
Brady is 20-3 against the Bills in his career, 9-4 versus Ryan during his tenure as a head coach with the New York Jets.
Going back to Ryan’s time with the Baltimore Ravens as a defensive coordinator, Brady is 317-for-534 (59% completion), 25 touchdowns, 8 interceptions and a QB rating of 90.13.
It’s clear Ryan gives Brady problems. New England’s ability to play a clean, turnover-free game will ultimately determine the outcome.
— Stay Patient:
Buffalo was riding high after a huge week one victory against the Indianapolis Colts. Bills fans will be out in full force at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday afternoon, so it’s important the Patriots stay composed throughout the day.
With so much energy in the stadium and high emotions coming from the Bills sideline, it’s important New England keeps with the game plan and stays patient. Ryan will be aggressive and if the Patriots can avoid any major mistakes, they should be able to capitalize later in the game. Don’t expect Buffalo to lay down or let up at any point in this contest.
— Force Taylor to Throw:
New Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor had an impressive debut last week. His mobility and athleticism, along with tailback LeSean McCoy, give Buffalo a formidable running threat.
New England must focus on the Bills running game and put the ball in Taylor’s hands. Not that he’s not capable of making plays, but forcing Buffalo to be one dimensional could greatly shift the outcome of the game. Otherwise, the Bills can work in the play-action passing game and possibly make plays downfield like they did in week one. If Buffalo is able to establish a ground game, the Pats would be in a lot of trouble, like Indy was last week.
If the Patriots can play competitively in pass coverage, put some pressure on Taylor, let’s see if he can respond by putting the ball into tight windows. Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia would much rather lose that way than letting Buffalo control the line of scrimmage throughout the contest.
Prediction: Bills 23, Patriots 20
After a good start in week one, the Patriots have a tough task in Buffalo this week. While New England will likely be the better team at the end of the season, the Bills enter week two with a ton of momentum and energy from Rex Ryan’s presence. It will be a tough contest, but the Pats tend to struggle earlier in the season and could drop a back-and-forth game in a tough environment.
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