One down, eighteen to go. With a little help from suspect early play calling and a kicker who’s sending his resume to Monster.com any day now, TB, Gronk and the boys ran away with last week’s matchup against the Steelers. As we all know, the Pats travel to Buffalo this Sunday to take on the rejuvenated division rival Bills, who put a legitimate beat down on the Colts last weekend. Led by old friend Rex Ryan, arguably the league’s best defensive line, and an infusion of offensive speed and firepower, this Sunday should be a good one. Let’s take it around the horn and see what the BBS staff thinks.
Tom Brady: Over/Under 280 passing yards?
Niko: OVER. Due to the strength of Buffalo’s aforementioned defensive line, I expect the game plan to revolve around short passes and quick developing plays. I expect several screens and draws to keep Rex’s D on their heels. I think TB comes out firing in this one; he really doesn’t have a choice.
Pete: OVER. I don't think that the Patriots really have a choice on this one. With one of the best defensive lines in the NFL, the Colts should be able to stop the run and get to Brady with relative ease. However, I feel confident that Brady will be able to get the ball out quickly and pick apart a surprisingly weak Bills secondary.
Spence: OVER. I think the Bills defense will force TB12 to come out firing. I expect Gronk to have another huge game in the Redzone. I also expect Brady to connect with Edelman quite a bit on screen passes.
Tyrod Taylor: Over/Under 250 all-purpose yards?
Niko: UNDER, but not by much. “T-mobile” won’t have as much success through the air as he did in week 1 (14-19 195 and a TD), but I think he’ll break a run or two. I get nervous just thinking of mobile quarterbacks, especially ones with limited film on them for Patricia and Belicheck to work with. I’ll say 170 yards in the air and 60 yards on the ground for Tyrod.
Pete: UNDER. I think that Taylor is going to struggle this game. With LeSean McCoy questionable for Sunday's game, Rex Ryan is going to have to rely on Taylor to go out there and make plays if Shady isn't able to go. I don't think that Taylor is that type of guy yet. He is going to force the ball to either Watkins or Harvin and Belichik is notorious for taking away the best offensive weapon on an opposing team.
Spence: UNDER. Taylor will have a tough time relying on the ground and I think will have to force the issue in the passing game. I expect the Patriots D to make the right adjustments in the secondary to prevent that from happening.
Rob Gronkowski: Over/Under 80 yards and .5 TDs?
Niko: I’ll go UNDER on yards and OVER on the touchdown. I don’t envision a team all year keeping Gronk out of the endzone. Simply not guardable. However, Rex will have a sound enough plan dialed up to keep number 87 from completely shredding his D in between the 20 yard lines.
Pete: I am going to hesitantly say OVER on both. There is no denying that Gronk is going to score a touchdown. Like Niko previously said, it is hard for me to envision any team this season being able to keep Gronk out of the end zone. However, Rex knows his stuff and will have a decent defensive scheme for Gronk. Nevertheless, Gronk is a matchup nightmare. Look for him to have a big game as always.
Spence: OVER on both. I think Gronk will be thrown to quite a bit here and will end up with over 80 yard. I would not be in the least bit surprised if he gets thrown to multiple times in the end zone and picks up a few touchdowns.
Lagarrete Blount: Over/Under 65 rushing yards?
Niko: UNDER here, fairly confidently. Like I mentioned before, I foresee a predominantly pass blueprint for the Pats. Not to mention Blount didn’t look all that great in the preseason and he’s probably going to need a few weeks under his belt before he starts becoming a focal point of the offense. Plus, Dion Lewis and Brandon Bolden will vulture plenty of snaps. I’ll guess 10-12 carries for about 35-40 yards.
Pete: Absolutely UNDER. With one of the best defensive lines in football, it would be hard for anyone to run on the Bills. Couple that with Blount's smash mouth style of running, and it creates a huge mismatch. Look for a lot of Dion Lewis instead, as he could have a huge breakout game.
Spence: Easily UNDER here. I think with the threat of the Bills tough defensive line, the Patriots really aren't even going to attempt to use Blount all that much. If they do go on the ground at all I expect they will try some different guys because a power back like Blount would only play into the Bills' hands.
Julian Edelman: Over/Under 8.5 catches?
Niko: Right in the neighborhood, but I’ll go OVER. Tom will be looking to Minitron early and often on Sunday.
Pete: OVER. Edelman, similar to Gronk, is almost impossible to cover. While Gronk uses his freakish athletic abilities, Edelman has just as much heart as anyone in the NFL. The dude simply doesn't quit.
Spence: OVER I expect him to get above 10 catches. If last week as any indication maybe even more than 10.
Sammy Watkins: Over/Under 70 yards and .5 TDs?
Niko: UNDER on yards, but I’ll give him the OVER on the touchdown. Watkins is extremely gifted, but these Bills don’t exactly scream “air it out” football. I think Butler will be physical with him and keep him mostly at bay, with McCourty/Harmon over the top.
Pete: Saying that Watkins was quiet last week against the Colts is an understatement. To me, it all matters if Butler is on Watkins or Harvin. I think I will go with the UNDER on both here.
Spence: Probably OVER yards, but UNDER on the TD. Bend, but don't break.
Shady McCoy: Over/Under 100 all-purpose yards?
Niko: UNDER. McCoy should find some success against what seemed like an extremely vulnerable Pats run defense last week, but with a balky hamstring and Karlos Williams taking a good fraction of the carries, McCoy shouldn’t reach the century mark.
Pete: ABSOLUTELY UNDER. It is questionable if he will even play or not. McCoy won't be running all over this team, even though the Pats run defense looked iffy last week. If he expects to be able to run a wheel route and take it upfield for 50 yards, McCoy obviously hasn't met Jamie Collins yet.
Spence: UNDER definitely. There is no guarantee that he will be playing I would actually be surprised if he even suits up.
Game Total: Over/Under 45 points?
Niko: OVER. I don’t think this Bills D is as paralyzing as everyone seems to think. It won’t be easy, but the Pats should be well north of 20 and Buffalo will put some drives together as well.
Pete: I am going to say a shade UNDER. While I think that the Patriots will be able to score with relative ease, the Bills aren't a bunch of slouches. They are going to give the Patriots some trouble. Fortunately, I don't think the Bills are going to be able to keep up with the Pats.
Spence: UNDER. I think this will be a very defensive oriented game with a lot of possession changes. The Patriots will end up winning, but it will be a well-earned victory.
Niko: One of “the other guys” has to step up in this one, as Gronk and Edelman will essentially be doubled all game. I’ll say Danny Amendola steps up with 65 yards and a visit to the end zone.
Pete: I think that Dion Lewis is going to have a breakout game. We saw what Lewis was capable of last week, and, with Blount mainly contributing as a back on the ground, look for Dion Lewis to get a lot of playing time. This will be just another weapon at Brady's disposal. Look for Scott Chandler to breakout against his former team as well.
Spence: I think we are going to see Gronk score two touchdowns and get thrown to at least 3-4 times in the end zone.
Niko: Bills this, Bills that. Rex this, Rex that. Blah Blah Blah. Pats get it done. 28-20
Pete: It's going to be a tough game, but the Patriots get it done. 24-20 Pats.
Spence: Tough earned victory, but Pats 24-14