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Time: 7:00 p.m. EST
Where: Foxboro, Ma. (Gillette Stadium)
Radio: 98.5 FM: The Sports Hub
The much anticipated return of No. 12 is finally here. Tom Brady and the rest of the New England Patriots will take the field Monday night as they host Terrell Owens and the Buffalo Bills. The game is most notably headlined by both Owens and Brady. Owens has had himself an eventful off-season. After the writing on the wall became apparent in Dallas, Owens was released. However, just one week late, he signed a one-year, $5 million contract with the Bills.
However, the most controversial (yet entertaining) part of Owens’ off-season came when his T.V. reality show, “The T.O Show,” which aired on VH1 before training camp. In short, the show portrayed Owens as a genuine, hard worker, differentiating himself from the “T.O.” label. On the field, Owens’ presence alone should make the Buffalo offense better. For Brady, the story is known. His knee has been documented, his shoulder examined, and now he’s is ready to get back to work.
The former Cleveland Brown and Detroit Lion joined the Patriots this offseason after signing a one-year deal, which became official in June. At 6-1, 203 pounds, Bodden has the size to match-up well against Owens. With Bills running back Marshawn Lynch suspended for Monday night’s contest, the Bills will look to move the ball in the passing game. Owens will be the highlighted offensive target.
In the recent past, the Patriots secondary unit has struggled. As matter of fact, only Terrence Wheatley and Jonathan Wilhite, both of whom were 2008 2nd-round draft picks, remain in the secondary from a year ago. It was obvious that Patriots coach Bill Belichick wanted to implement a change. Bodden is two seasons removed from having six interceptions with the Browns, so he is certainly capable of containing Owens.
The former Stanford quarterback has struggled in the pre-season, as he did not record one touchdown pass. The Bills offense as a whole hasn’t played up to expectations, however, Owens only played in the first preseason game so some of the Bills’ problems could be attributed to Owens. In 2008 against New England, Edwards did not fare well. In their Week 10 match-up, Edwards completed just 13 passes with a completion percentage of 56.5 and two interceptions. Edwards later put up similar numbers in Week 17.
However, aside from these two performances, Edwards is a capable NFL quarterback. His play should improve with Owens healthy and when Lynch’s comes to an end, Edwards play should only improve. But, Monday night, Edwards is the key for the Bills if they want to pull of the big upset. Buffalo will be limited in the running game with Fred Jackson starting. Also, the fact that New England will be employing more of a 4-3 defense won’t help Jackson and the Bills as the Patriots should defend well against the run. With that said, Edwards will look to move the ball early and often in the air. If Edwards can string along a few nice, long, methodical drives against the Pats defense, it will only benefit Buffalo and their chances of coming out on top.
The Patriots offense will be too much for Buffalo to handle. Defensively, for New England, look for them to be on the attack all night long against the inexperienced Bills offensive line that is starting three players who have yet to see action in the NFL.