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Week 2 preview: Patriots at Bills


The Sports Xchange

New England Patriots (1-0) at Buffalo Bills (1-0)

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, N.Y. – TV: CBS

*TV announcers: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon

*Keys to the game: Bills head coach Rex Ryan is known for his wide array of pressure packages, but he’d love to be able to get into Tom Brady’s kitchen with just the front four. Buffalo certainly has the personnel to wreak havoc with its front line, and Brady eats up defenses that bring extra pressure by getting rid of the ball quickly to TE Rob Gronkowski and WR Julian Edelman. RB LeGarrette Blount returns for the Patriots following a one-game suspension and provides much-needed bulk in attempting to pick up some chunks between the tackles.

Bills QB Tyrod Taylor is coming off a very efficient first start and his versatility presents issues for all opponents. Patriots coach Bill Belichick has a storied history of creating nightmares for inexperienced quarterbacks by throwing looks they’ve never seen before. Taylor will have to be wary of blitzers from all angles and linemen dropping back into coverage. The Patriots gave up 5.4 yards per carry in the opener and Taylor would be greatly aided by an improved ground game. However, LeSean McCoy managed just 41 yards on 17 carries last week as the Bills’ offensive line issues reared their ugly head.

*Matchup to watch – Patriots C David Andrews vs. Bills DT Marcel Dareus: Back from a one-game suspension and with a $100 million extension in his back pocket, Dareus commands significant attention at the point of attack, clearing teammates to make plays. The rookie Andrews performed admirably in his first career start, but facing Dareus and the Bills’ talented and deep front line is an entirely different test – and one that could serve to significantly hamper the Patriots’ ground game and ability to attack vertically.

*Player spotlight – Patriots RB Dion Lewis: His workload will be reduced with Blount returning, but the shift Lewis will remain an important part of the Patriots’ game plan. He was targeted five times by Brady and is assuming the Shane Vereen role in the offense.

*Fast facts: Bills WR Percy Harvin joined Hall of Fame member Ollie Matson as the only players in NFL history with at least four 50-yard touchdown receptions and three 100-yard kickoff return touchdowns. … Brady is 23-3 all-time vs. Buffalo.


The Bills have a prime opportunity to make a big statement with a pair of home victories over presumed title contenders to open the season. It’s a tall task, however, and Tom Brady slips out of Orchard Park with yet another victory by winning the turnover battle against Tyrod Taylor.

*Our pick: Patriots 23-19

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