After a second consecutive loss that came down to a field goal for the New England Patriots, they will look to rebound Sunday when they face the Buffalo Bills. In their first divisional matchup of the season, the Patriots will be looking to avoid their first three-game losing streak in nearly a decade.
A week after the Patriots young defense was made to look mediocre by the Baltimore Ravens, it doesn’t get any easier in Buffalo. The Bills boast one of the league’s best offensive lines that led the league in fewest sacks last season and have continued that success so far this year allowing just one sack thus far. Getting into the Bills backfield will be a challenge for the Patriots defensive line.
The Bills have looked very strong on offense this year but injuries have hampered them lately. When starting running back Fred Jackson went down in week one with an injury, third-year backup C.J. Spiller took over leading the league in rushing with two straight 100-yard games. But his strong start came to an end in week three when he was carried off the field due to injury. The Bills are hoping Jackson can return Sunday but if not a one dimensional offense would be a break for the Patriots struggling defense.
Unfortunately for the Patriots, the team’s secondary has been their weak spot again this year and the Bills passing game has also had success. While the Bills rushing attack has undoubtedly been the strong part of their offense, starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has done his share as well. Through the first three games, Fitzpatrick has a passer rating of 95.2 which places him eleventh in the league. With eight passing touchdowns so far this season, he leads the league alongside Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Ryan. This could be trouble for a Patriots defense that has allowed 786 yards and five touchdowns through the air.
The Patriots offense will be forced to win in the air on Sunday as the Bills revamped defensive line which includes former Patriot Mark Anderson, Kyle Williams, and Mario Williams. While they’ve only accumulated one sack so far this season, their opposition has only gained 300 yards on the ground this season and the Bills defense has forced three fumbles which places them near the top of the league.
While the Bills passing defense isn’t as bad as the Patriots, it is their weaker spot. The Bills have allowed 745 yards passing so far this season and have yet to face an offense as strong as the Patriots. The Patriots will almost certainly go with the three receivers passing game they have been since the injury to tight end Aaron Hernandez. Expect Tom Brady to give Brandon Lloyd the majority of attempts to move the ball quickly down field.
At 1-2 this season, the Patriots have looked less than stellar especially on defense. With injured players coming back and strong additions, the Patriots were expected to improve on what was one of the league’s worst defenses last season. If the defense doesn’t play better in Buffalo Sunday, it could be a three game losing streak and put the Patriots in deep trouble even in one of the NFL’s weaker divisions.