Oh boy, here we go again. The Bills face their division foes, the Patriots. Let’s look at how things were the last time the Bills beat the Patriots. Drew Bledsoe was running an offense that carried most of the load for the Bills. He threw to Eric Moulds and handed off to Travis Henry. Their defense had been the weak point up until the 2003 season, which started out at Gillette Stadium. But this year was going to be different. The recent additions of London Fletcher and Takeo Spikes boosted the defense up front, and in the back it was disgruntled Lawyer Milloy, who had just been dropped by New England and picked up by the Bills. Bledsoe and Milloy were unhappy with their former team and wanted to show them a thing or two. Henry ran for 89 yards, scoring 2 touchdowns. Lawyer Milloy had a full speed, hard hitting, highlight making sack of Tom Brady and the Bills walked off the field with a score of 31-0. That was perhaps the greatest Bills game of this young millennium.
Well, it’s been 4 years since that game took place. The next time they met, the last game of that same season, the Patriots returned the favor and defeated Buffalo 31-0 on the Bills’ home turf. New England took that game and stretched it out to what is currently a 7 game winning streak against the Bills.
Now here we are in week 3 of the 2007 season. In what could possibly be the most dismal looking matchup so far for the Bills, there is some good news. The last time Buffalo visited New England, the Bills looked strong. They got out to a 10-7 lead thanks to London Fletcher’s interception which he returned for a touchdown. Anthony Thomas added another touchdown later to make it a 17-7 game. Then the inevitable happened. Tom Brady led the Pats to a couple scores, and then, worst of all, JP Losman got sacked in his own end zone for a safety. The game ended with Buffalo losing in a 19-17 heart breaker. Over the past few years, Buffalo has done better against the Pats on their own field than in Buffalo. Another bright spot is Aaron Schobel. He has sacked Tom Brady 10.5 times over the past 12 times he’s faced Brady’s offensive line.
There is also some bad news. The Pats are loaded this year and seem to be playing with a huge chip on their shoulder due to the recent video taping cheating scandal. Brady has more tools than ever before. The Bills defense not only lost some big names, but another handful of players have gone out with injuries. The offense isn’t clicking at all. The Pats defense has only gotten stronger with the addition of Adalius Thomas. Bill Belichick is showing the Bills a lot of respect. And Terrence McGee may be out, or at least limited, with a rib injury.
So what to expect? Well, Buffalo typically starts out strong. Not the first quarter, we’re just talking the very first drive here. So I expect them to start off with an early deep drive leading to a field goal, or maybe even a Marshawn Lynch TD. After that? Bills fans will probably want to turn off the tube. Tom Brady may get sacked once or twice, and may even throw an interception (Jim Leonhard needs another one this game), but he will throw for plenty of yards to Moss and Welker. Former Bill, Sammy Morris, will have a nice running game against one of the worst rushing defenses in the league. JP Losman will only spend a handful of minutes on the field as he will fail to get the ball to Evans or Reed again. The special teams will give the Bills good field position as usual, but that won’t mean too much.
I don’t figure it will be a pretty game, so I’ll just stop talking about it and give my prediction. Although, I must say, if the Bills manage to pull the upset of a lifetime, the confidence of the players will go through the roof and could lead to a nice little winning streak. Their next 3 games are at home, and who knows? If this game goes terribly wrong for New England, Buffalo could get some chemistry and roll with it. But really, I think I may sooner see a pig fly.
Prediction: Buffalo 10 | New England 31
Related: Game Day Tipsheet: Week 3
Bills set to receive shellacking in New England