Week 5: New England Patriots At Buffalo Bills
- QuarterbackTom Brady is not going to be at the top of the mountain every week. However, he almost never has an off day as the leader of the Patriots. He reads defenses superbly, throws accurate passes when he has time and understands how to attack opponents. His inability to sustain fourth-quarter drives hurt the Pats against the Ravens.The Bills’ offense has had two good weeks in a row and is starting to find its rhythm. Ryan Fitzpatrick is an accurate passer who does not make a lot of mistake. If Fitzpatrick is not put in a catch-up mode he can trade punches with Brady for at least three quarters.
- OffenseThe offensive line does not gets its due. The Patriots are superb blockers and that unit opens up holes for Stevan Ridley and gives Brady sufficient time. Look for a big game from Rob Gronkowski and the nearly forgotten Wes Welker against the Bills.The Bills took a heavy blow when running back C.J. Spiller injured his shoulder and he is likely to miss 1-to-2 games. Backup Tashard Choice does not have Spiller’s explosiveness. Look for the Bills to attack with speedy wideout Stevie Johnson on the outside.
- DefenseThe Patriots could not stop Joe Flacco from throwing over the top of the defense as they simply could not put enough pressure on him. The Pats appear to be much better at stopping the running game, but the defensive backs are usually a step behind.The Bills started to get some dividends from their offseason signing of defensive end Mario Williams. He had 1.5 sacks against the Browns, his first in a Buffalo uniform. Linebacker Nick Barnett is flowing to the football and stopping the ball carrier with his hard-hitting style.
- Special TeamsThe Pats have been victimized in the kicking game two weeks in a row. Stephen Gostkowski shanked a game-winning field goal attempt in Week Two against Arizona, while Baltimore’s placekicker Justin Tucker’s 27-yard field goal was (barely) good at the gun in Week Three. Punter Zoltan Mesko is a solid directional kicker.The have the ability to break big plays on special teams, as they did in Week Two against Kansas City with explosive Leodis McKelvin. He remains a threat against New England. Brian Moorman is a solid punter who averaged 49.9 yards per punt in Week Two.
The Patriots have suffered back-to-back last-second defeats against the Cardinals and Ravens, but they played well against Baltimore. A similar effort against Buffalo will allow them to end that brief but significant losing streak. This one could get ugly.