New England Patriots: Player To Watch Week 1

By Jared Smith
Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots bring their new-look offense into Buffalo on Sunday when they face the Buffalo Bills. The offense is very different than it was in past years, but the one thing that is still the same is the QB, Tom Brady, who is not only one of the best QB’s in the NFL right now, but is one of the greatest of all time.

He has proven in the past that he can even make average wide receivers look good. When he gets some receivers around him with a lot of talent, he and those receivers generally put up huge numbers. With a brand new corps of pass catchers, including four rookies, there is one person I see having a big game week one against Buffalo.

Danny Amendola comes in after an injury-riddled past in St. Louis. Nobody doubts that the skill is there, he has just had trouble staying on the field. Well, 2013 is here and Amendola looks healthy and ready to fill some big shoes of the departed Wes Welker.

Welker had been a cornerstone of this Patriot offense since 2007 when the Patriots traded a second-round pick to get him. A move many questioned at the time, but will never question after seeing his production with the Patriots. Amendola, a similar receiver also out of Texas Tech, signed a five-year, $31 million dollar contract with the Patriots in the offseason in hopes to become the new Welker. Amendola, though not as durable in the past, is bigger and faster, and could be more of a big-play threat out of the slot or outside.

Looking back at Welker’s games against the Bills the last two years, Buffalo has had a difficult time with the slot receiver, and I don’t see it getting any easier with Amendola. In the last four games against Buffalo, Welker has posted 37 receptions, 471 yards receiving and two touchdowns. That includes a monster game Welker had against buffalo in 2011 when he had 16 receptions for 217 yards and two touchdowns.

Amendola and Brady have looked like they are on the same page during the preseason, and Amendola will get a lot of targets in this game since it looks like he is the receiver Brady is most comfortable with. With the Bills inability to stop Welker in the past, Amendola could breakout and have a huge game.

This is not only a great thing for Patriots fans, but fantasy owners, too. I see Amendola going off for more than 100 yards receiving and at least one touchdown. This game could be a blowout if the Patriots offense dominates the possession game and gets momentum, which is very likely to happen. Amendola could be the player who most benefits from this, so look out for him not only in this game, but in the 2013 season as a breakout receiver.

Jared Smith is a Writer for Follow him on Twitter @shmity91, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.

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