TALE OF THE TAPE

Tale Of The Tape: New England Patriots At Buffalo Bills

New England Patriots
Buffalo Bills
(credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
(credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Quarterback
Winner The Patriots are almost certainly going to feel secure knowing they go into every game with Tom Brady at quarterback. His physical gifts are solid, but it’s his coach’s understanding of the gameplan that turns him into an assassin on the football field. He sees opposing weaknesses and he knows how to exploit them. Accurate, smart, tough-minded and driven. Very difficult to beat.
First-round pick E.J. Manuel has the honor of starting for the Buffalo Bills at quarterback for rookie head coach Doug Marrone. All he has to do is outduel Brady for the Bills to come out with the win. Under the category of “stranger things have happened,” this might move to the top of the list if it actually occurs.
Offense
Winner The Patriots offense has been a juggernaut in recent years. While it should still be a productive unit, it may take time for the offense to rival what it has been. Wes Welker is gone and Danny Amendola will be asked to take his spot. The TE position is a mess because Rob Gronkowski is not ready and Aaron Hernandez is facing murder charges. RB Stevan Ridley is coming off a 1,263-yard season and he gives the Pats a credible ground game.
The Bills have some decent weapons at the skill position, but it might be tough to employ them with all the difficulty they have had at the QB position this summer. WR Stevie Johnson is explosive but inconsistent. He has had some of his best games against New England. C.J. Spiller has the quickness and change-of-direction to give the Bills a credible running attack. The offensive line is questionable, at best.
Defense
Winner The Pats improved steadily on defense last year and they were much better in that area than the team that went to the Super Bowl in the 2011 season. Start off with Vince Wilfork in the middle of the defensive line, who excels against the run and can cause havoc on passing plays. CB Aqib Talib gives the Pats credibility in the secondary.
The defense was a weakness for the Bills last year, particularly against the run (30th overall). Mario Williams has to be the key to the Bills defense. If he can stay healthy and get off to a good start, he will be very difficult to block. Linebacker Nigel Bradham can stay with tight ends and he is also a terror against the run. Jairus Byrd is a likely star at the FS position because of his speed and ball instincts.
Special Teams
Winner The Patriots have had credible special teams for many years, and placekicker Stephen Gostkowski is quite dependable in clutch situations. He made 29-of-35-FG attempts last year and should do better this year. Return specialist Julian Edelman is a fine weapon. Ryan Allen takes over as punter from Zoltan Mesko, who was cut.
The Bills play hard on special teams and have provided good coverage on punts and kickoffs this season. Leodis McKelvin has been one of the best punt returners in the league. He returned two punts for touchdowns last season. Unproven Dustin Hopkins takes over at the PK position from Rian Lindell.

The Winner Is

(credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Winner New England Patriots
4 out of 4

Not only do the Patriots have the advantage in each category, the edges at quarterback and special teams are substantial. Add in the differential between Bill Belichick and rookie head coach Doug Marrone in his first game and you have all the ingredients for a blowout.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Peyton Manning (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
    Super Bowl 50 Tale: Panthers Have Edge Over Broncos

    It will be a shock if Cam Newton is not handed the NFL’s MVP award the night before the Super Bowl. He is a game-changing superstar who is still ascending.

  2. ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 02: Carson Palmer #3 of the Arizona Cardinals throws against the Dallas Cowboys in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium on November 2, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
    NFC Championship Tale: Arizona Cardinals At Carolina Panthers

    The Cardinals have depended on Carson Palmer to lead them all season, and he was good enough to lead them to a 13-3 record during the season.

  3. Tom Brady (Photo Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images) Peyton Manning (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
    AFC Championship Tale: New England Patriots At Denver Broncos

    The New England offense had new life in the win over Kansas City with the return of wideout Julian Edelman.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS Boston

Taz Show
Download Weather App

Listen Live