The New England Patriots will face Buffalo Bills today at 1 pm EST. We are taking a look at the matchups to watch for in the game today that will be crucial to a win for either team.
1. Scott Chandler vs Jamie Collins/Steven Gregory
– Chandler has been a problem for the Patriots over the past few seasons. The Patriots linebackers have struggled in coverage last year, and the Bills took full of advantage of it when Spikes or Hightower was tasked to cover him. This year, the Patriots drafted rookie linebacker Jamie Collins, a guy who use to be a safety, and has great cover skills. Collins may be the coverage linebacker the Patriots have been looking for and he might be called upon to slow down Chandler today. If and when Collins is not on him, look for Steven Gregory to be called to stop Chandler. Gregory’s strengths as a safety is against tight ends and runningbacks, and if he is called upon to stop Chandler then he needs to do an excellent job in coverage.
2. Stevie Johnson vs Aqib Talib
Bills WR Stevie Johnson has went on record this week saying he doesn’t believe New England has a CB who can stop him, but he hasn’t played against Aqib Talib yet. Talib is a strong coverage corner, and is excellent in man, but Talib will get burned once or twice during a game, so Talib really has to stick on him, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he got beat one time in the game. As long as it isn’t a reoccurring theme today, it won’t hurt New England.
3. CJ Spiller vs Brandon Spikes
Brandon Spikes had 3 combined force fumbles against the Bills last season. Spikes totaled 5 force fumble last season, and is one of the league’s best run stopper. Spikes against the Bills running game is key in this matchup as the Patriots need to contain it to make the Bills one – dimensional. The Patriots have a strong run defense so it will be interesting to see what the Bills have plan to counter that with their speedster Spiller.
4. Patriots OL vs Bills DL
You have to protect Tom Brady. The matchup between the Patriots offensive linemen against Mario Williams, Kyle Willams, and Alan Branch will be key today. If you give Brady time, he will pick you apart all over the field. So, if Brady is protected the Patriots could roll away, and if he isn’t? This will be a battle.