NEPD Staff Writer B. Delabarrera
After a poor second-half effort against our green rivals in New Jersey, the Patriots looks to bounce back with another AFC East clash against the Buffalo Bills. This time, the Pats do battle on their home turf, and no team wants to start the season 0-2 in their division.
For a team that was so energized to prove themselves during this season, it seemed like they burnt out before the first half wound down. The energy level was completely diminished and the young defenders expected the Jets to lay down and curl over; not in East Rutherford. No team has allowed at least one fourth quarter touchdown in more consecutive games than the Patriots (5).
Luckily for Tom Brady and the bunch, if history is any indicator, the 0-2 Bills have a better shot at making the playoffs than they do at winning in New England.
The loss to the Jets was gut-wrenching, and the loss of Kevin Faulk felt worse, but props have to be given to them for playing 60 minutes of football and earning a ‘W’. This young, developing team will no doubt face many challenges this season with each other and opposing teams.
Yet, there are still 14 weeks left in the regular NFL season. There is little reason for panic right now, a 1-1 record means nothing in the grand scheme of things. It just would have been so nice to beat the Jets early on and not have to play them in a must-win divisional game later. The Patriots now need to hit the ground running and try to close out the next two divisional games and head into their Bye.
Without getting ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at what’s is going to be on the Pats’ plates this Sunday:
The Ive-League Back-up vs. Patriot Defense – Trent Edwards couldn’t buy a hundred yards in Green Bay last week; so that qualifies Ryan Fitzpatrick for a starting position I guess. Either way, as long as Darius Butler remember that there are rules against grabbing receivers, I don’t see how this defense can screw this one up.
The emergence of Gerard Warren as a potential pass-rusher and Tully Banta-Cain’s hustle should muster up enough pressure to keep Buffalo’s time of possession to a minimum. Offensively, the Bills have a ton of question marks. The boys out wide are lead by Lee Evans and Roscoe Parrish and barely combine for 100 yards themselves so far. Factor everything in with Fitzpatrick’s tendency to be more comfortable throwing a long pass and Patrick Chung could very well be taking one back to the house for six.
Speaking of the Long Ball vs. The Big Ol’ Bills – What happened to the offense last week? First Darrelle Revis got Mossed and it felt like a blowout party. Shortly after, Tom Brady became obsessed with the deep ball; it honestly felt like I was watching a ridiculous game of Madden. There were no posts, slants, screens, or anything at one point. Every time the offense got hot, Brady would over-heave one to Antonio Cromartie or under-throw rookie TE Rob Gronkowski on a stretch. It was kind of dismal at one point and we were still up. The plays were there, that’s for dang sure; it was the Patriots’ patience that was missing.
In contrast to the Patriot woes, Buffalo has looked very weak in the first halves of their games this year instead of the second. So even if the defense isn’t prepared for 60 minutes of football yet this week, it would be wise to try and take advantage in the beginning when they can’t score. It’s pretty safe to assume that Aaron Hernandez is going to be open always often and average 20 yards a catch… so lets integrate that into our attack more too.
Marshawn or C.J.? – It’s unclear who the feature back for the Bills will be in Gillette Stadium on Sunday. Their roster claims that rookie C.J. Spiller is their man, but Coach Gailey seemed to suggest that they would attack the Patriots with some of their own medicine: a RB rotation. Buffalo’s offense has been struggling greatly this year, last week Green Bay chased them out of Lambeau in a 35-7 rout. Keeping Marshawn Lynch unhappy isn’t going to do any good for the Bills and Fred Jackson only finding the end zone once isn’t going to make their front office’s job any easier.
I assume that after they test this rotation out, they will ultimately end up starting Spiller, letting the powerhouse Jackson back him up, and trade Lynch. (Possibly to the Cheeseheads that just romped them; I hear they have a few LBs for sale) It’s impossible to win without the feeling of a team being together as one; that is one huge advantage that the Patriots will hold against the Bills on Sunday.
Moment of Appreciation – I want to take this space right here to thank Kevin Faulk for being a Patriot and doing more for this organization and its fans than most players anywhere. Whenever our team needed a spark, this man probably lit it. Here’s to a speedy recovery and an easy career decision. Bless you, man.
Under The Microscope – Special Teams leader Kyle Arrington: After Butler was pulled for 2 PI calls, CB and special-team ace Kyle Arrington took over. Word on the street is that Kyle was taking snaps with the first team defense this week at practice and signs point to him being the starter. This is great opportunity for a young, energetic player in Arrington to come out and make a huge impact on a needy team. He’s got my support for sure.
Beat The Bills.
Tags: Pre-Game Meal