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Old Rivals Meet Again; Pats vs Bills Week 4 Preview

12/28/14 Foxborough, MA: Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount gives Bills safety Da'Norris Searcy stiff arm to the face on his way to a 34 yard run in the third quarter.       The New England Patriots hosted the Buffalo Bills in a regular season NFL game at Gillette Stadium.   (Globe Staff Photo/Jim Davis) section:sports topic:Patriots(1)

This Sunday the Patriots will have another home game against one of their division rivals the Buffalo Bills. The Bills are coming off a big win against the Arizona Cardinals with the score being 33 to 18 in favor of the Bills.


Let’s get right to a big concern for the Patriots in this game; who is the quarterback? Well some good news is that according to ESPN insider Adam Schefter, “Both Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett took the field [on Tuesday], and the Patriots expect one of them to play.” Now this is some great news to hear and as interesting as it would be to see Julian Edelman at quarterback, it would be better to see someone who has been practicing quarterback to actually play that position come game time. Now it is also important to note that according to the same report,  “Garoppolo is still in pain and does not yet have full mobility in his throwing shoulder”. But before people start counting him out, there is still a few days left for him to recover for Sunday’s game.


Now let’s take a look at some key points of the game. Last week the running backs on both teams had strong performances. Bill’s running back LeSean McCoy rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns while Patriots’ running back LeGarrette Blount rushed for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Both the Patriots and Bills faced teams with a strong units that are skilled at stopping the run, yet both teams running backs were able to have breakout games. Keep an eye on how these running backs might be featured in this matchup.


Next up would be the receivers. Patriots receiver Julian Edelman still hasn’t gotten a touchdown yet this season, which is a bit odd seeing how quick he is and how he always seems to be open. Last season he had 7 touchdowns for 692 yards, it would have been more but he suffered a Jones fracture in a game against the New York Giants last season. The Texans held him to a subpar 38 yards in last weeks game,however, the Patriots do like to spread the ball around to other receivers such as Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Hogan (who is a former Bill himself), Danny Amendola, etc. For the Bills however, their top receiver Sammy Watkins did not play in the Cardinals game because of a foot injury he suffered, but he may be in the lineup against the Pats.


This game will also feature Tyrod Taylor at quarterback for the Bills who last week had a 56% completion on passes and threw for 119 yards. The Patriots options  at quarterback have been great so far. Brissett has been efficient with  57% completion on his passes and threw for 103 yards, and Garoppolo has been spectacular with 69.2% completion, threw for 232 yards and had three touchdowns before he went down in week 2. Neither quarterback for the Patriots has yet to  throw an interception this season


To sum it up, if Brissett is going to be in the game, then it will be a defensive battle for both teams and it will come down to who can stop the run. With two powerful running backs that aspect should make for a great game. The game changes though if Garoppolo is in, since he will be more comfortable airing the ball out to receivers if he is fully healthy. If he is still feeling pain in his shoulder, the game would continue to be on the ground and a battle of the better defense. Either way it should make for a great match up against division rivals.  

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