September 19, 2015 - Joe Mason
3 reasons the Bills could beat the Patriots this week
The Patriots have dominated the Bills for the better part of the past 15 years, and they’ll look to add another chapter in that saga when they visit Buffalo in week two of the 2015 NFL season. This time, however, things could be different. With a new coach in Buffalo, a new starting quarterback, and significant changes in the Patriots roster since they hoisted the Lombardi Trophy last year, there is reason to believe that Buffalo can win on Sunday. Here’s why. The Bills defense could be really, really good this year Hey, have you heard about the Bills defense? Of course you have - pundits and observers are falling over themselves to mention it. But they have a very good point here: the Bills defense really could be something special this year. They were a top five squad by just about any measure last year, and they’d added defensive guru Rex Ryan as a head coach. Ryan’s defenses play great fundamental D, usually limiting offense rather than going for explosive turnovers and big plays. Ryan also loves to bring pressure, which is the best way to play Tom Brady (it’s the best way to play any pocket passer, really). If the Bills can limit the Patriots’ scoring and keep their offense off the field, they’ll give QB Tyrod Taylor a chance to win the game. The Patriots secondary is questionable It’s not necessarily fair to point to the Pittsburgh game when criticizing the Patriots secondary – Roethlisberger’s Steelers are expected to have one of the most explosive offenses in the league, and some of those points were scored in garbage time anyway. But the Patriots secondary has been a question mark ever since they let Darelle Revis walk, and it’s fair to at least say that they didn’t assuage any of those concerns against Pittsburgh. Tyrod Taylor is no Ben Roethlisberger, but he looked pretty good last week against Indianapolis and won’t face exceptional hardship dealing with a secondary that’s led by Malcolm Butler. Butler is good, but unspectacular – most fans hadn’t heard of him until his Super Bowl-winning catch last year. The Patriots will miss Revis this year, and the Bills could make sure they do in week two. The Patriots have issues defending the run, too The Patriots last year were better at defending the long play than they were at defending the run. This year, to be frank, they’re not going to be stellar at either. This isn’t a bad front seven, exactly, but it’s one that got pushed around early by the Steelers (though they got a reprieve when, inexplicably, the Steelers called a trick play that soon killed off the drive). The Steelers did well early with RB DeAngelo Williams (Le’Veon Bell is suspended for the first two games), and Williams is probably past his prime. Bills RB LeSean McCoy could be poised to have a field day against the Patriots. Buffalo used a ton of power-running plays against the Colts; expect to see that again when the Patriots come to town. This would be no upset The Bills could very well lose the Patriots, as they’ve done in all but three of their meetings since 2011. But if they do win, it will be because the Patriots lose the defensive battle. And if that happens, don’t let anybody tell you that this was an upset. These Bills are for real, and there are plenty of reasons to think they can get a rare win against their division rivals.