September 7, 2003.
That’s eight years and two weeks ago. That’s the last time that the Buffalo Bills finished a game against the New England Patriots with the most points on the board. That means – for fifteen consecutive games – the Bills have failed to top Bill Belichick and his various crews. That’s absolutely ludicrous.
While a lot of it can be attributed to the Hoodie and his quarterback being close to if not the best at what they do for the past decade, most of this horrendous drought has to do with the garbage bin slosh that Buffalo has had coaching and playing for them since then. This year, as we talked about a few days ago, is an entirely different story though.
I have a hard time looking at a Bills/Pats game and being able to predict a Buffalo victory simply because of the trend I just mentioned. This week is no different, and I don’t think I’ll really see them as beatable until it’s done, and done in a decidable fashion. We’ve had our shots, our close calls over the years, but if you aren’t winning at the end of the game noone cares how close you came. I’m not going to do this as most people would and build up to an unrealistic prediction at the end of a few hundred words – I think the Bills fall in a close match of undefeateds this Sunday. Now, here’s those few hundred words to back it up :
It’ll be a shootout, naturally. Look at how high scoring both teams games have been so far – Buffalo has been involved in a 41-7 and 38-35 victory, and New England has had wins of 38-24 and 35-21. Combined, they’ve scored 152 points in the first two weeks. The Patriots have an amazing quarterback in a system built around him, as well as one of the worst secondaries in the league, which makes for fireworks on either side of the ball. That team over near Beantown routinely fields low-end players in the defensive backfield, but this year is decidedly worse than the past few. Chad Henne put up four bills on them in week one if that means anything. On the flipside of that equation, Buffalo’s got an alright quarterback themselves – who head coach Chan Gailey has spent close to the past year building a scheme around – with a wealth of weapons that he is more than comfortable using. Buffalo’s defense has been able to generate the pass rush of a sleeping infant in their first two games, which is causing their secondary to look even worse than they are (and right now, they’re pretty bad). If you like the passing game, you’ll love this one.
Buffalo has Fred Jackson, the current league rushing leader, which should help if they ever decide to hand it off (a smart move if they want to keep things balanced and keep their defense off the field). New England fields the tandem of Danny Woodhead and Benjarvus Green-Ellis, but in the past few games against us you would have thought it’d be more of a Barry Sanders / Walter Payton tag team the way they’ve dominated (a disturbing 373 yards and three scores in just two 2010 meetings). Just take this in to consideration – though we may have a much improved run defense, Belichick knows how to adjust to film better than any coach in the game and will find a way to make those two useful. They’ve shredded us in the past, so why stop bringing it?
We catch a break with TE Aaron Hernandez and S Pat Chung missing the game, for sure, but Rob Gronkowski will still be all over the field in his homecoming (he and his brother Dan, also on the roster, grew up in the Buffalo area), making the Bills linebackers work double time. Buffalo will be without cornerback Terrence McGee, guard Kraig Urbik, and now wideout Roscoe Parrish – just placed on the injured reserve. McGee still hurts with the way McKelvin is playing, but the other two are almost entirely inconsequential and will have very little impact on how the team plays. Both offensive lines have been doing well – Buffalo’s especially so, considering allowing one sack in two games is incredibly out of character for the perennial sieve-like group.
When you spell it out, it really looks like they’re pretty evenly matched. When you’re a Bills fan, you know better.
We’ll find out on Sunday afternoon just how close these two are – regardless, it’s going to be a blast. See you all on Monday no matter how this turns out.