The Buffalo Bills finished off their preseason schedule with a second terrible showing, falling to the Detroit Lions. In this week’s “Looking Back, Looking Ahead” we are strictly going to be looking ahead. I don’t think anyone feels like reading another word about the preseason so I won’t write any.
We are about to find out where the Buffalo Bills stand as they open the season against the New England Patriots. The Bills have lost 19 of their last 20 against the division rival Patriots and the team is hoping that the combination of new Head Coach Doug Marrone and rookie QB EJ Manuel can put an end to that trend. They get their first opportunity this Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Why The Bills can Win
CJ Spiller is the best reason the Bills may be able to win this game. Spiller dominated last season despite sharing the backfield duties with Fred Jackson. The Bills will turn to CJ to carry the load this year and if he can do in full time action what he did with limited carries a year ago, the Patriots may find themselves in trouble. The game plan should be CJ left, CJ right, CJ up the middle and CJ catching passes out of the backfield.
The Bills announced this morning that EJ Manuel will be starting this Sunday.The Patriots will face a QB that they will not have much film to prepare for.
Stevie Johnson thinks the Bills can win this game and he will tell you why “Because I’m here.” Stevie provided some bulletin board material for the Patriots this week as he proclaimed, “I don’t think they have anybody to stop me.” He went on to explain that it’s not just him. “I just have that confidence in my teammates and in myself,” said Johnson. The Bills do have a very young receiving corps and that may also make preparing for Nathaniel Hackett’s offense a challenge for Belichick as there is not much NFL tape for him to evaluate.
While with the New York Jets, new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine found ways to get to Brady and compete with the Patriots. If he can find a way to establish a pass rush without exposing his young and depleted secondary, the Bills can find ways to slow down Brady and company. The key is to stop the big play while finding a way to force turnovers. The Patriots will put points on the board… but if Pettine’s defense can get some turnovers and the offense can turn them into points, an upset could be in the making at One Bills Drive.
Why the Bills can Lose
It’s the Patriots. The Bills are expected to lose; like I stated previously, they have done so in 19 of the previous 20 meetings.
Tom Brady continues to dominate and probably will for the foreseeable future. The Bills lose if he is Tom Terrific. Brady needs to play error-free football and he usually does. If Brady can get in sync with his new receivers and Gronkowski is able to contribute, this offense will be tough to slow down.
The Patriots running game is expected to be a large part of their offense this season. Stevan Ridley is the starter but Shane Vereen is expected to play a large role as well. Both players have the ability to break off a big run at any time. If they have any success on the ground they will win this game.
The Patriots have spent the last few drafts restocking their defense. They now have the makings of a top 10 unit that can dominate. If they can stop CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson out of the backfield it will be a long day for EJ Manuel.
The bottom line is that the Bills can win if the 12th Man billieves! The Ralph needs to be rocking early and stay that way regardless of the start. Don’t let Brady get a rhythm. I’ve seen many QBs get frustrated by the roar of that stadium, including Brady himself.
I started writing this article thinking Patriots 52 Bills 7 however my optimism won’t allow me to think that way. #BillsMafia is loud and proud. EJ Manuel makes his debut and Coach Marrone is the talk of the league… at least for one week.
Bills 34, Patriots 31.