The New England Patriots will be visited by the Buffalo Bills this Sunday at 4:25 for what will be the Patriots last regular season game of the season.
The Patriots and Bills faced off week one this season, a game the Patriots won on a Stephen Gostkowski game winning field goal.
Rob Ninkovich has been nursing an ankle injury, and missed practice Friday. Rob Ninkovich is huge for this Patriots defense. Not only does he help stop the run, he is also considered one of the leaders of this Patriots defense.
Shane Vereen missed practice Friday with a groin injury. Vereen is a key component to this offense, but at the same time it would be terrible for the Patriots and their chances in the playoffs if Vereen ended up worsening his injury by rushing back (no pun intended). If Vereen needs to sit, he should sit. We will need him in the playoffs.
Devin McCourty is recovering from a concussion and could likely miss Sundays game.
The Patriots were able to control Fred Jackson and C.J Spiller in their week one matchup, but I do not think the Patriots will be contain this dynamic duo of running backs this week. Back in week one the Patriots had Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, and Tommy Kelly to clog up the middle of the field. Now all of those players have all been sidelined with season ending injuries and teams with a good rushing attack have been exposing this. I expect the Bills to at least pile up 200 rushing yards as a team this Sunday.
E.J Manuel, the Bills starting quarterback week one against the Patriots, is doubtful and will likely be not play against. This leaves backup quarterback Thad Lewis to grab the reigns again for the Buffalo Bills. Through five games, Thad has thrown for 845 yards, 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Although he is not the worst quarterback you will ever see, he is not a starting quarterback in the NFL. Expect Thad to turn the ball over against this Patriots secondary who have recently transformed into a ball hawking secondary. This can be said by the recent emergence of rookie cornerback Logan Ryan out of Rutgers. Ryan has 5 interceptions on the year to go along with 2 defensive touchdowns.
The Patriots have won 20 of their last 21 games against the Buffalo Bills. Now I am not one to buy into history. Obviously the Patriots and Bills were completely different teams 5 years back, but the one constant that has remained with the New England Patriots is Brady and Beliichick. They have always had the Bills number and I do not expect that to change here. Although the Bills will rack up the rushing yards against the Patriots I expect Thad Lewis to make a few costly mistakes that will cost the Bills the game. Patriots win, 31-21.