Patriots-Bills scouting report
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Passing yards per game
Buffalo offense: 193.0 (26th)
New England defense: 262.0 (24th)
BILLS’ KEY PLAYER: MARIO WILLIAMS
A truly destructive defensive end, this 6-foot-6-inch, 292-pounder is a terror off the edge. Super Mario has the quickness to rush the passer, and the strength and speed to seal the edge against even the fastest running backs.
How he beats you: With intelligence and speed. Williams diagnoses plays quickly and has an explosive first step. He is rarely out of position, closes quickly, and pummels opponents.
How to shut him down: By getting rid of the ball quickly. Williams is at his best pursuing quarterbacks and running backs. When he’s constantly dropping into coverage, he tends to get lost and loses his enthusiasm.
BILLS’ KEYS TO VICTORY:
1. Let’s try Brad. Whatever happened to Brad Smith? This guy was a nightmare to defend when he was with the Jets. Get the ball in his hands on offense (QB, WR, HB) and special teams.
2. Pocket protector. Keeping Ryan Fitzpatrick comfortable and upright is imperative. If he gets skittish early, he will go into a funk. If he’s allowed to stay comfortable, he will take advantage.
3. Return engagement. Leodis McKelvin is a fearless returner (and a decent corner, too). He needs to find his lanes and follow his blockers to change field position.
PATRIOTS’ KEYS TO VICTORY:
1. Short memories. Bill Belichick’s troops can’t worry about being 1-2 (they could easily be 3-0). Forget about the last two weeks and concentrate on getting back on track.
2. Feed Ridley. Stevan Ridley was kind of the forgotten man vs. the Ravens. The Patriots need to stick with their sophomore tailback even if he struggles early. He will pay off late.
3. Gap control. The big guys up front (we mean you, Vince Wilfork and Kyle Love) have to clog the lanes to force the backs outside where the linebackers and safeties can gobble them up.
Patriots 31, Bills 21
Jim McBride can be reached at email@example.com.