Wow. What a game last Sunday in New York. It just doesn’t get any better than that. Huge performances all around: Danny Amendola on special teams and moving the chains, Super Bowl Hero Mr. Butler locking down one of the most explosive receivers in football, Lafell and Gronk stretching the Giants’ secondary. Unfortunately, as we all know, it wasn’t all roses in Patriot world as Julian Edelman was lost until the playoffs with a broken foot. With the injuries mounting, the Bills AND the liars from ESPN coming into town, this Monday night is a BIG ONE. Let’s take it around the table and see what the BBS Staff thinks…
Tom Brady: Over/Under 315 passing yards?
Niko: Brady attempted 59 passes in Buffalo week 2. I don’t think that’s a recipe for success without Edelman/Lewis, but it will undoubtedly be a pass first attack. Look for Tom to spread the ball around and go OVER on the 315.
Pete: At this point in the season, the Pats are down offense. No Edelman, no Lewis, and relying on guys like Chris Harper, Danny Amendola, and Aaron Dobson. However, Brady is Brady. The offense will almost certainly rely on the run a little bit more now that they are down a couple receivers, but I think Brady should still go off. OVER.
Spence: I say over here. Despite being depleted, I think everyone will surprised how well everyone else steps up. Look for Amendola and Lafell to have big games and Dobson should make an impact as well. Loosing Edelman and Lewis hurts, but Brady is still Brady.
LeGarrette Blount: Over/Under 48 rushing yards?
Niko: UNDER. I don’t think we can run effectively in between the tackles against these Bills. I think we’ll try to early on; I’m just skeptical. I do expect James White to find a little success with screens/draws instead of just slamming LG up the gut.
Pete: I am a big LeGarrette Blount guy. I think he is a good power back, and every team should try to get someone like him to compliment a more shifty RB that tries to make guys miss. The Bills are a good run defense team with that Front 7, but he should be OVER 48 yards.
Spence: As much as I love LeGarrette, I think this is the Bill's strength, stopping the run. I think He will have an impact on the game, but I overall think this will be a pass first attack here. I'm going to go under here, but if he's called upon and needed more, I hope he goes over.
Rob Gronkowski: Over/Under 6.5 catches 100 receiving yards?
Niko: OVER on both. Gronk was a machine in Week 2 (7, 113, 1 td) and he’ll need to be again to get the W.
Pete: The Bills secondary has been doing a lot of talking, saying that they will be able to take Gronk completely out of the game. While they may be able to limit Gronk, you can't take a player of his caliber completely out of the game; you can only hope to contain him. I will say UNDER on catches, just because he isn't that type of player to rack in 12 catches, and OVER on yards.
Spence: Over on both. I expect Gronk to be a huge factor in this game. The Bills secondary has been talking and I only think that will fuel the fire. Look for Gronk to be major factor especially in the Red Zone.
Danny Amendola: Over/Under 7.5 catches, 76 receiving yards?
Niko: OVER catches, UNDER on yards. Even with the absence of Edelman, I expect Danny to remain mostly in the slot, but to move up the totem pole as far as Brady’s “reads” go. Danny should be involved early and often in this one, and will be critical for the remainder of the season.
Pete: Oh, Danny boy. I want to believe that Amendola will be able to fill Edelman's role, but lets face it, he's not the same player. Amendola is one of the better slot receivers in the league, but no one is as good as Minitron. I will say OVER on both, however. Amendola will have a statement game.
Brandon Lafell: Over/Under 4.5 catches, 66 receiving yards?
Niko: OVER on both. If Dobson can go for 7 and 87 in week 2, Lafell can as well. Brady trusts him; he’ll get his targets.
Pete: LaFell has quietly put together a great season after being sidelined for the first couple of weeks with that foot injury. Now that he is fully back and ready to go, he should be one of Brady's favorite targets. OVER.
Spence: Over on both by a lot. I think he will be a huge factor and will be relied on heavily. This is Lafell's time to shine as being the number 1 wide receiver on the team with Edelman out and he will not dissapoint!
Tyrod Taylor: Over/Under 250 yards from scrimmage?
Niko: If Jamie Collins does not play, I think Tyrod goes OVER here, but just barely. He should find some success with Clay/McCoy/Williams matched up against Mayo/Freeney, who have both had significant struggles in coverage.
Pete: People love Taylor, but I just don't see it. Sure, he can use hit legs to get out of pressure situations, but hasn't RG3 shown us that you need a true pocket passer to be successful in the NFL? I am going to go UNDER here. The Pats Front 7 should be able to contain him to stay inside the pocket, and, if thats the case, the Bills are screwed.
Spence: Under. I just don't see it. The Pats front 7 is just too strong and I think will but a lot of pressure on him and force him to act like a pocket passer. If thats the case I expect him to throw up some ducks that will hopefully lead to TDs for the Pats.
Sammy Watkins: Over/Under 5.5 catches 75 receiving yards?
Niko: With Malcolm Butler coming off his best complete game as a pro, I’m going to go UNDER on both. Watkins will threaten, but I don’t think he’ll dominate the game or break a long one.
Pete: ^ What he said.
Spence: ^ I'll make it easy.
Shady McCoy: Over/Under 100 yards from scrimmage?
Niko: I think the Bills ground game will be (somewhat) neutralized by the Patriots stout run D, but McCoy could shred our linebackers in coverage. OVER here thanks to 60 some odd receiving yards for Shady.
Pete: The Patriots have done a great job of containing tight ends and running backs, almost in start contrast to the Denver Broncos. I think that trend will continue, but McCoy will look dominant at times. UNDER.
Spence: Under for sure. I I could see him getting close in the 75-80 range, but I just don't see 100 from the scrimmage here.
Charles Clay: Over/Under 4.5 catches, 45 receiving yards?
Niko: Belichick has always thought highly of Clay, one year even using his best corner at the time (Talib) to cover him in his Miami days. In Week 2, Clay was held to 3 catches for 19 yards, and has been inconsistent all year. I’ll go UNDER here on both.
Pete: While inconsistent, BB has always had some type of fascination with Charles Clay. I think that he will be right at these numbers, but, because I have been so down on the Bills up until this point, I will go OVER.
Spence: Under on both. He's had a very inconsistent season and I personally think he's really been a shell of his former self and his days in Miami.
Niko: Nickell Robey/Ronald Darby vs. Danny Amendola
With bigger corner Stephon Gilmore (6’1, 190) likely getting most of his work on Lafell (maybe some Gronk?), Darby and Robey should get the bulk of the work on Amendola, whose role in the offense will undoubtedly be brought into the spotlight without JE. Robey in the slot (where I still think Danny will spend most of his time), and Darby on the outside. If these guys can keep Amendola in check, the Pats offense could struggle.
Pete: I am going to be as boring as possible here and say the Pats offensive line vs. the Bills defensive line. The Patriots are getting some help on the line (Vollmer, Jackson, Cannon), and the Bills have one of the better Front 7's in all of football. If the Pats can keep Brady upright, it will be a long day for the Buffalo Bills.
Spence: ^ Could not have said it any better myself, the Patriots O-line will need to step up big here in order for us to win this game.
Niko: Sticking with my man James White here. With O line reinforcements seemingly on the way (Vollmer, Cannon, Jackson), White’s responsibilities should shift back towards receiving instead of staying home to block. I’ll go 75 yards from scrimmage from James.
Pete: I am not even 100% sure that he will suit up this week, but I think that Keshawn Martin is going to have a big game. With Edelman out, and the glimpses of him early in the season, it looks like Brady has faith in him. That is singlehandedly the most important thing in a Patriot offense.
Spence: My bold prediction here is that Lafell will have a big game with the absence of Edelman. We will need him to step up the rest of the reason with Edelman out so I would love to see him have a big game here and make a statement.
Game Total/Final: Over/Under 48.5 points?
Niko: Just UNDER. I’m going to go 28-20 Pats. The Pats need to reshape their identity moving forward with Edelman/Lewis, Buffalo will be a legitimate test this Monday night. In the end though, at home, Brady and co. will be too much.
Pete: This is truthfully going to be a great game. I think that the Bills will keep it close early, but the Pats should be able to pull away in the second half and make the final score look like a much different game then it actually was. 31-17 Pats.
Spence: 28-14 Pats. I think it will be a well-wearned victory. Without Lewis and now Edelman, we will have to look to different guys to step up, but that will not be a problem.
Will Chris Mortenson be in attendance?
Niko: No. Bleeping. Way. #ESPNLIES
Pete: Blow me, Mort.
Spence: I hope so and I hope he gets harassed by Patriot Nation to no end.