Well it is Patriots week and I'm glad that the Bills are coming off a big win at Miami. They've effectively built some momentum heading into this game against New England. Buffalo has had a lot of injuries, but seeing the way some of the younger players stepped up, particularly in the receiving corps and in the defensive front seven has been very encouraging.
After playing well enough to win against the Dolphins and coming out of the game with no major injuries, I do believe they have a chance to hang with the Patriots. Yes New England has been blowing a lot of their opponents out, but that hasn't been the case against the Bills.
Fitzpatrick in his first start had a productive game up at Gillette Stadium in Week 3 and they lost 38-30. And everyone remembers the one-point loss in the Monday night opener in 2009. Teams that don't face the Patriots twice year like the Bills are sometimes in awe of Tom Brady and that offense. The Bills however, are out there scrapping every step of the way.
That's why pressuring Tom Brady is the key. It's kind of the opposite formula for what they had to do against the Dolphins. Buffalo had to slow down Miami's run game first before they could go after Chad Henne. This week it's all about getting to Brady and disrupting their passing game.
If they can get pressure on Brady and chase him down from behind he'll look like a different person. Weather won't be a factor for him though, especially after seeing how he performed in a snowy game at Chicago a couple of weeks ago.
Brady has be unaffected by the elements for a long time. In fact I believe the Patriots are 11-0 in snow games with Brady at quarterback. I still remember watching him against the Raiders in that AFC Championship game in the snow when he first started for the Patriots. I knew then he was going to be something special.
I do think he's one of five best quarterbacks that has ever played. I think he's done that good of a job week in and week out year after year. That's why the key to getting to him is up the middle. You can't let him step up in that pocket.
The Patriots' passing game is a lot of underneath stuff, like we used to run, but when he needs to throw the ball downfield he's got the follow through. It's not that you change up a lot in bad weather in terms of your throwing mechanics. I never gripped the ball as hard as I used to when it was wet or windy. You've just got to make sure you follow through with your passes.
You can't flick it up there or it'll get caught up in the wind. You've got to be able to follow through and have a tight spiral in order for it to cut through the wind. Tom has mastered that.
I know a lot of people thought their offense was going to go south when they got rid of Randy Moss, but the effect has been the complete opposite.
Even I'm a little surprised. Randy Moss was his big hit downfield. I don't think they're any better, but they haven't lost a step because of that move either. Any time you have a receiver like Wes Welker that takes a lot of pressure off a lot of other positions.
They just have a scheme that every quarterback would love to run. They pass first and run second. Even though they are successful running it to a certain point, opponents are so worried about their pass that they sit back and let them run a few plays and focus on the passing game. No one has been able to stop them, though what Green Bay put together in terms of a plan was as good as I've seen in a while.
The Bills have to find a way to stop the passing game and I don't know that they will, but they've got to get some turnovers and work on stripping the ball. Buffalo has shown it's at least possible with 13 takeaways in their last five games. They have to do whatever they can to give their offense as many short fields as they can.
I realize the Patriots still have home field advantage in the AFC playoffs to play for and have won 13 in a row against the Bills, but I just have a gut feeling that the Bills have a good opportunity here.
It would be one heck of a Christmas present if Chan Gailey and his team could hand Mr. Wilson back-to-back wins over the Dolphins and Patriots and end that awful streak.