New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills Preview
The New England Patriots endured a tumultuous offseason that ended with a complete overhaul of Tom Brady’s targets on offense. The Patriots will be happy to get back to business when they visit Ralph Wilson Stadium to battle the Buffalo Bills in the season-opener for these two division foes.
Brady has a new and unproven batch of weapons on offense, but the veteran quarterback believes the team is primed to continue their annual dominance on the offensive end. Brady will look to utilize his free agent acquisition Danny Amendola early and often against the Bills’ defense.
Amendola is currently battling a groin injury and found himself on the injury report a few days ago, but the Patriots coaching staff has insisted the wideout will be able to suit up for Sunday’s AFC East divisional contest.
Amendola is the lone veteran that Brady will rocket passes to until tight end Rob Gronkowski returns from injury. The Patriots are counting on draft choices Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce to have a major impact on the offense this season. Brady will also be counting on undrafted rookies Kenbrell Thompkins and Zach Sudfeld to be effective in the passing attack.
Meanwhile, the Bills received some uplifting news on Wednesday, as first-year head coach Doug Marrone announced E.J. Manuel had fully recovered from the “minor procedure” on his left knee. Manuel will start for the Bills, who have lost 23 of their past 25 contests against the Patriots.
Manuel’s first career start in the NFL will be a challenge against the Patriots, but Marrone believes his rookie quarterback has the potential to thrive in this league right out of the get-go.
Running back C.J. Spiller is expected to perform at a high level in 2013. Spiller rushed for a whopping 1,244 yards last season, amassing 6.0 yards per carry. As the Bills’ most dynamic player, he must have a big game to lead his team to an early-season upset.
The Bills did collect encouraging news about Manuel, but they also received some frustrating news related to star safety Jairus Byrd, who will miss the start of the regular season with a lingering plantar fasciitis injury. He reportedly wants out of Buffalo, as the 26-year-old ball-hawking defender is unhappy with playing under the $6.9 million franchise tender.
Byrd is arguably the Bills’ most talented defensive player, and his presence in the secondary would be crucial against the Patriots this weekend. Regardless, the Bills’ recipe for taking down the Patriots on Sunday will revolve around the success of Manuel and Spiller against a refurbished Patriots’ defense.
You can find Bills tickets here for this week’s game against New England. Tickets are available for as low as $65.