by Mario Granata
There will be a lot of things to watch in this Sunday’s match-up between the Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots, but taking a closer look at the history of the individuals involved and the games that have already were played in Week 1, you start to gain a different perspective. When you are watching the game, be sure to look for these match-ups, which could decide the final outcome of the game.
Young Quarterbacks vs. Bill Belichick:
Belichick has long been known to feast on young quarterbacks throughout his time in New England. Why, you ask? He forces them to think. One thing to look out for in this matchup is the routes at the ‘sticks’. If the Bills happen to be in a 2nd and 7 or a 3rd and 5, Belichick will have his defense, especially his corners sit on where the first down marker is. This will force Tyrod Taylor to either hold onto the ball longer to throw into the second level, or may result in a sack. When you watch the game and they flash to a route that is at the sticks, the corners will be sitting there and force Taylor to make a choice: run or throw deep.
Rex Ryan/Dennis Thurman vs the Patriots:
Over the past two years, when Thurman and Ryan were paired up, the Jets have a mere 1-3 record against the Patriots. However, the scores in those three losses were 13-10, 27-25 and 17-16. For the most part, with the depleted defenses that Ryan/Thurman have had, they still play the Patriots tough. Points will be at a premium this weekend, and it might come down to a battle of Carpenter vs. Gostkowski.
Karlos Williams vs. Patriots Front 7:
In the game against the Colts (and much of the preseason) Greg Roman has done with Tyrod Taylor what most coaches will do with young quarterbacks: gave him half field reads. This is important because in a half field read, the running back will run a route to the side the quarterback is reading as a safety valve. If Karlos Williams is asked to stay in the backfield, look for Belichick to bring pressure since Williams looked less than stellar against the blitz pickup. He will try and take advantage of the rookie when he is in there.
Cold Front vs. The Rookie Linemen:
The teams that have the most success against the Patriots are ones that don’t need to blitz to generate pressure. Ryan has never had a front 4 like this before. Sure, he had some good linemen when he was in New York, but not this much talent across the board. Look for Ryan and Thurman to take their foot off the ‘blitzing’ gas pedal in hopes to take advantage of the rookie offensive linemen of the Patriots. This will allow the Bills to bracket Julian Edelman and put more than one man on Rob Gronkowski. If the Cold Front is able to get Brady ‘off the spot’ then the Bills will hopefully generate some turnovers.
Can lightning strike twice at One Bills Drive? It is very possible if the Bills are able to be the defense that fans have been clamoring about this offseason. These will be the matchups to look to when Buffalo takes the field against New England this Sunday.