BOSTON (CBS) — Stevan Ridley knows that he is going up against one of the best run defenses in the league on Sunday in the Buffalo Bills.
The Patriots’ running back is also very familiar with one of the guys who will be giving chase to him when he breaks out of the backfield, a rather large man who will be looking to deliver a few monstrous hits on anyone with a Patriots uniform holding onto the ball.READ MORE: Fraternity Suspended As Police Investigate Death Of UNH Student Vincenzo Lirosi
That familiar face — or should we say, collection of hair — is Brandon Spikes, who signed with Buffalo in the offseason after spending the first four years of his career with the Patriots.
The hard-hitting linebacker left New England on some less than ideal terms last March, and is now wreaking havoc in Buffalo as a team captain. With the likes of Spikes, defensive ends Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes, and run-stuffers Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus, the Bills have allowed just 71 rushing yards per game over the first five weeks of the season — good for second in the NFL.
“That defensive front is always a problem – they spent a lot of money on that defense. Their linebackers are strong and they’re really finding their groove,” Ridley said of Buffalo earlier this week.
And when it comes to Spikes, Ridley is well aware of how hard the linebacker hits, and just how explosive he can be against the run.
“I talked to him last week and he’s going to be gassed up and excited. It’s going to be a little different, but I went against him a lot in practice here and know how he plays,” Ridley said of his former teammate. “But that isn’t going to take anything away from him.”
Ridley isn’t the only one preparing for some hard hits from Spikes. Tight end Rob Gronkowski, who has taken his share of powerful hits over the years, will be watching out for Spikes whenever he goes over the middle.
“You have to be aware of him. He’s a hitter, so you have to be prepared and mentally and physically ready,” said Gronk, who has nine touchdowns in six career games against the Bills.
Spikes usually isn’t out there in passing situations, but nonetheless, Gronkowski and Patriots receivers will be ready.
In addition to the hard hits he’s known to deliver, Spikes became one heck of a trash talker during his time in New England. He has no problem getting in anyone’s face, whether it be a running back he’s bringing to the ground or a quarterback he just introduced to the turf.READ MORE: When Will The Snow Start? First Widespread Snow Of The Season Expected Wednesday For Massachusetts
He even likes to show off some dance moves when the timing is right. Or, just because he’s in the mood to dance.
“It’s going to be exciting to go out and talk a little bit of trash to him,” said Ridley. “For me, I just have to go in and play my game, but it should be fun to go against somebody you know and have a relationship with. It should be cool; we’ll see who gets the best out of each other on Sunday.”
Not much has changed in Spikes’ game, as Patriots head coach Bill Belichick noted in a press conference earlier this week. Belichick joked that the only difference for Spikes is that his “hair might be a little longer.”
Spikes heard about the comment, and actually saw it as a compliment.
“Really? What a pleasant surprise,” Spikes said earlier this week. “I don’t know, I expected him… you guys know how it all ended. I don’t think he held a grudge. It is what it is. Players change teams every year, every week. So it just is what it is.”
Spikes challenged the Patriots’ decision to place him on injured reserve in January shortly after signing with Buffalo this offseason, essentially calling the move a suspension by Belichick and New England.
While his comments this week make it look like he’s over how things ended with the Patriots, there’s no doubt Spikes is anxious to deliver a few of those hits on his former teammates, and send a little trash talk their way.
That should make for some interesting handshake — or non-handshakes — when the clock hits zero on Sunday afternoon.
Tune in to Patriots-Bills Sunday afternoon on 98.5 The Sports Hub — the flagship station of the New England Patriots. Pregame coverage begins on 98.5FM at 10am, with three hours of postgame coverage following the game. WBZ-TV kicks off their coverage at 11:30am with Patriots GameDay, and will bring you Bill Belichick and Tom Brady’s postgame press conferences on Patriots 5th Quarter over on myTV38 following the game.MORE NEWS: Massachusetts Was The Most Generous State In 2021, GoFundMe 'Giving Report' Finds
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