By Danny Cox
It’s going to be hard for anyone to derail the high-speed train that is the New England Patriots as they are running on all cylinders right now, but teams are certainly going to try. Coming up, the Pats have two games against the Buffalo Bills in the final month of the season, and the first one will be at home against a team that has had its fair share of ups and downs in 2017.
Buffalo Bills’ Season Record: 6-5
At 6-5, the Bills certainly aren’t out of the playoff race, but they need to build off of the momentum of last week’s big victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. Buffalo started out the season at 5-2 with big wins over the Falcons, Broncos, and Raiders before losing three in a row, which included a number of blowouts.
Bills On Offense
When they have the ball, the offense lives and breathes around LeSean McCoy, even though Tyrod Taylor is the starting quarterback. Taylor has struggled at times this season and he is still getting used to leading a franchise, but the Bills don’t have much in the way of a backup in case things get too bad. Rookie Nathan Peterman’s only real experience came against the Los Angeles Chargers, where he threw five interceptions in one half.
New England’s primary goal will be stopping McCoy in the running game and keeping him and Charles Clay at bay in the passing game. Buffalo does not have a lot to work with on offense, and the improvement in the Patriots’ defense won’t make it easy for them to gain yardage.
Bills On Defense
Buffalo gives up a lot of yardage per game and more than 23 points per game to teams that don’t have nearly as much firepower as the Patriots. The Bills are giving up more than 260 yards through the air and more than 114 yards on the ground, and the Patriots have the ability to rack up a lot of both.
One thing the Patriots need to watch out for is the Bills defenders’ ability to snatch the ball out of the air. Buffalo has 12 interceptions, with Micah Hyde leading the team with five, but Tre’Davious White and Jordan Poyer each have two as well. It’s going to be slim pickings for the passing offense of New England as they will need to carefully try to pick apart the secondary.
Bills Players To Watch: RB LeSean McCoy and S Micah Hyde
No matter what team he is on or how often you hear his name, every team should always watch out for running back LeSean “Shady” McCoy. He’s the leading rusher on the Bills with 758 yards and four touchdowns. McCoy is the second-leading receiver on the team with 295 yards and another score. No matter where he is on the field, the Pats will need to watch out for Shady or he will run wild on them all day.
At times this season, the Bills defense has not been something enjoyable to watch, but veteran safety Micah Hyde is always a threat. In his first year in Buffalo, he leads the team with five interceptions—already a career high for him—and he’s getting better every week. Tom Brady would be well advised to not throw his way at all on Sunday.
The Buffalo Bills had a lot of promise at the beginning of the season, but their lack of experience at quarterback is really hurting them right now. It’s hard to build a team around Tyrod Taylor, who shows flashes of brilliance, but not enough to lead a franchise. While the weapons and talent are there, they just won’t have enough to get past the numerous strengths of the New England Patriots, who should roll to yet another win.