TALE OF THE TAPE

Tale Of The Tape: Buffalo Bills At New England Patriots

Buffalo Bills
New England Patriots
(credit: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
(credit: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
(credit: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
(credit: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Quarterback
The Bills have struggled once again this season, but their 19-0 home victory over a Dolphins teams that was trying to get into the playoffs was impressive. If they can perform at New England as well as they did at home, Doug Marrone will have a lot to be proud of. Whether E.J. Manuel (knee) or Thad Lewis lines up at quarterback, the Bills appear to be in for a long day.
Winner Tom Brady has a long history of tormenting the Bills, and he’s not likely to let up here because the Pats must win to guarantee one of the top two AFC seeds. A loss could send them all the way to the fourth seed, which gives them a playoff matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs. Brady has rebounded after a slow start and has a 24-10 TD-interception ratio.
Offense
The Bills have the running backs to cause problems for the Patriots. Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller have both rushed for 800-plus yards and have the ability to wear down the New England front. Wide receiver Stevie Johnson has had big days against the Patriots, while tight end Scott Chandler is a dependable third-down receiver.
Winner The Patriots had a very solid ground game against the Baltimore Ravens, and they will try to attack the Bills with the same combination of LeGarrette Blount and Stevan Ridley. Blount likes to bludgeon opposing tacklers while Ridley has a bit more flash to his game. Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola are getting better each week in Brady’s passing game.
Defense
Winner The Bills have been shockingly effective on defense, as underscored by their shutout of the Dolphins. They rank eighth overall and are fifth against the pass. Rookie linebacker Kiko Alonso has had a brilliant season as he leads the team with 145 tackles and he also has four interceptions. Defensive end Mario Williams has 13.0 sacks and has the quickness and long reach to cause havoc.
The Patriots rank 25th overall and have given up a lot of yards this season, but this defense is not a lost cause. Season-ending injuries to Jerod Mayo and Vince Wilfork tore this team up, but Chandler Jones is proving to be an excellent pass rusher with 11.5 sacks. Aqib Talib has four picks and 17 passes defensed. He has been the Patriots’ best cover corner.
Special Teams
The Bills have had some issues with their coverage teams, and that’s not good for a team that is struggling to carve out a competitive identity. The Bills rarely get big plays from their own returners. Unheralded Dan Carpenter has made 31-of-34 FG attempts.
Winner The Patriots have been one of the best coverage teams in the league. They have not allowed a punt return longer than 24 yards. Stephen Gostkowski has made 34-of-37 FG attempts, including 5-of-6 from 50 yards or longer.

The Winner Is

(credit: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Winner New England Patriots
3 out of 4

The Bills should be able to push the Patriots and establish their running game. However, it would be shocking for the Pats to lose this game when so much is on the line.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. Frank Kaminsky #44 of the Wisconsin Badgers (Photo Credit: Mike McGinnis, Getty Images) Kaleb Tarczewski #35 of the Arizona Wildcats (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Elite Eight Tale: #1 Wisconsin Vs. #2 Arizona

    It is rematch time. Last year, the Wisconsin Badgers and Arizona Wildcats met in the Elite Eight and Wisconsin walked away with a 64-63 overtime win.

  2. Devin Booker #1 of the Kentucky Wildcats  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Zach Auguste #30 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Elite Eight Tale: #1 Kentucky Vs. #3 Notre Dame

    Coming into the Sweet 16, West Virginia showed confidence that they could be the team that finally knocked off the Kentucky Wildcats.

  3. (Photo Credit: Grant Halverson, Getty Images) (Photo Credit: Gene Sweeney Jr., Getty Images)
    Sweet 16: #1 Duke Vs. #5 Utah

    So much for the weak Pac-12 this year: The Utah Utes are one of three teams from the beleaguered conference to make the Sweet 16 this year, and they’ll face the best ACC team left in the tournament: Duke.

See All Tales of the Tape