The Teams: New England Patriots (10-5) At Buffalo Bills (7-8)
The Terms: Last Week of the Regular Season
The Place: Ralph Wilson Stadium, Buffalo, NY
The Time: 1:00pm
The Channel: CBS
3 Burning Questions:
- Any chance of a let down? With all of the talk of the playoff scenarios, none of them will matter if the Patriots don’t beat the Bills. Though Richard Seymour is listed as questionable and Tedy Bruschi won’t play, the Patriots – on paper – are the heavy favorites against the Bills. Buffalo won their first four games this year but since then has underwhelmed in 2008. The Bills have just a 3-4 record at home and have yet to win a game within the division, ugly. J.P. Losman is a pathetic NFL quarterback (584 yards, 2 TDs, 5 ints) and as we all know, single handidly gave away a game against the Jets. Though the Patriots don’t control their own destiny they still have everything to play for. The Bills will be looking to play the role of spoiler but with the playoffs on the line the veteran Patriots should be able to focus on the task of beating a terribly mediocre team.
- Will the rushing game continue to improve? Without Laurence Maroney one would think the already suspect Patriots running game would be non-existent. However, the emergence of a powerful threesome of Sammy Morris, Lamont Jordan and Kevin Faulk has been exteremly productive over the course of the last two weeks (277 yards against the Raiders, 183 against the Cardinals). The Bills have allowed 117 rushing yards per game so the Patriots will be anxious to establish the run early in the game. Now that Lamont Jordan is back healthy he gives the Patriots another dimension at the running back spot. Last week we saw Russ Hochstein play some fullback and he was a monster setting the lead blocks. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the same role against the Bills.
- The ultimate question: Will the Patriots make the playoffs? My gut? No. I think it’s very possible that the Jets will step up and beat the Dolphins at home, but I predict the Patriots will be the second team in history to go 11-5 and not make the playoffs. The Ravens should have no problem with the Jaguars and I just don’t trust Brett Favre to get the job done. The Patriots are peaking right now and could do some damage if they make the playoffs but costly mistakes against the Colts and Jets could prevent them from making the playoffs. Even if they are denied a spot in the playoffs it goes without saying the impressiveness of the effort from the Pats this year, faced with incredible obstacles.
Plain and simple, the Patriots are playing too well right now for the Bills to stay with them. It won’t be close.
Patriots 41, Bills 17
Also to note: Patriots potential playoff scenarios
Tags: Brett Favre, Kevin Faulk, Lamont Jordan, Matt Cassel, Patriots, Sammy Morris