Fresh off a lovely victory over the very sad, chippy Miami Dolphins and we are “on to the Bills”. I have a question for everyone: how is Suh still allowed to play in the NFL? Sorry I digress, and back to the matter at hand. The Patriots play this coming Sunday against the Buffalo Bills and their multiple personalities. Will the Patriots be facing the scrappy Bills team that just defeated the Chiefs? Or will they be facing the squad that looked like a bad high school team and were passing out interceptions like Santa passes out presents? Either way, it will require a solid game plan to take this Bills team down. Let me tell you what I feel are the keys to defeating the Bills and keeping our winning streak alive.
AS USUAL IT STARTS WITH BRADY
The key for the Patriots to beat any team is to rely on Tom Brady. That is not exacting rocket science to come up with that little tidbit. Basically the Patriots will be as good as Brady is, which is stellar most days. Tom Brady’s success may also be predicated on the running game being efficient. Against the chippy Dolphins, RB Dion Lewis ran for 112 yards and opened up the passing game. By controlling the ball with the run, the passing game and the play action will shred the Bills.
Once the run is established, expect the Patriots to pick apart the Bills with their passing game. The Bills tend to play a huge amount of basic zone coverages such as Cover 2, and Cover 3 in their defense. This defense is key if the Bills are able to get some pressure on Brady. If the Bills are not able to put pressure on Brady then this game will be an air show and the Bills will get whooped.
KEEP THE BILLS’ D LINE IN CHECK
The Bills are going to try desperately to get to Tom Brady and disrupt his rhythm. This also sounds like a broken record, but it is the key to the Bills’ defensive success. Being a little vulnerable in the defensive secondary, the Bills need to get pressure on Brady. The Bills also need to stack the box and stay close to the line to control any running game.
It goes without saying, Brady and friends should be well prepared for the Bills and what they may bring. Brady has more weapons on offence then some nations have in their armouries to defend a country. Picking just the right weapon to go to is what Brady does so well and has for about a hundred years.
If Brady is getting a lot of pressure then expect to see a lot of screen passes and a lot of short crossing patterns. This allows Brady to get rid of the ball quickly and gain positive yards. Having the blocking of our O-line on point, then expect some of these Bills’ line rushes to be met with gashing running plays. Having Brady keep the Buffalo’s D line off-balance should allow for another Patriots’ victory.
For the Patriots want to wear out an opponent’s D line, then there is only one answer. All that would be required to wear out the Buffalo defense is up tempo no huddle. This mantra of mine seems to wear out defenses, limit substitutions, and allow the Pats to get the lead. Let’s hope the Pats just do this and do not require me screaming at my TV.
STOPPING MCCOY AND CONTAINING TAYLOR
When drawing up a game plan to face an opponent, the Patriots’ staff tend to focus on one or two players to stop. The theory is that it would be harder for the other players to beat them then it would be for the stars. In the case of Buffalo, the Patriots will have to stop Shady McCoy and all of the aspects that he brings to the Bills’ offence. McCoy is a great runner and also one of the better backs in the NFL at pass catching. I would expect McCoy to be the personal assignment of Patrick Chung who will try to disrupt McCoy’s day. I also expect that McCoy will see a lot of Devin McCourty as well depending on the play.
The Bills’ starting QB Tyrod Taylor can be a dangerous weapon for their offence. If Taylor is allowed to scramble around and keep the Patriots’ defense off-balance then he will be quite effective. Lessening Taylor’s impact on the game is key. Taylor must be forced to be a passer first. Also by keeping contain on Taylor, the Patriots limit the damage he can do with his legs. Taylor is better passer then he was when he first started in the league, but it is still his weakest aspect.
CLOSING WITH A VICTORY
If the Patriots’ coaching staff prepares their team like they always do then I like their chances. Taking what the defense gives you and executing is the key to Brady’s game. Controlling the tempo of the game with the up tempo, no huddle should allow the Pats to come away this Sunday with another victory. I guess we will all just have to tune in and find out for sure, but I like our chances.