FOXBOROUGH — Despite starting a rookie quarterback, the Bills have plenty of options available on offense. None as dangerous, perhaps, as C.J. Spiller, who rushed for 1,244 yards last season, caught 43 passes, and scored eight touchdowns.
The Patriots defense will need to be aware of a handful of players when the Bills have the ball. Knowing where Spiller is at all times seems like a good place to start.
“Big challenge. You’re talking about a guy that touches the ball 80 percent of the time,” said defensive lineman Vince Wilfork. “They’ve made it clear, that’s their guy, they’re going to try to get the ball to him in the run game and the pass game. And why wouldn’t they? He’s explosive.
“We’ve got to do a real good job up front, just be responsible for the gaps, understand what he does.”
Spiller’s best individual game against the Patriots was the most recent one, when he combined for 131 yards (70 rushing, 61 receiving) in a 37-31 Patriots win at Gillette Stadium last November. He has yet to score a rushing touchdown in six career games against New England, but does average 5.5 yards a carry.
As Wilfork pointed out, though, Buffalo’s offense isn’t entirely Spiller. With a rookie quarterback in E.J. Manuel and a first-year head coach in Doug Marrone, the Patriots will need to be prepared for anything.
“We’re going to have be on our game, our ‘A’ game, to slow this team down, especially with the backs that they have, [Fred] Jackson and Spiller, and then with [receiver Stevie] Johnson outside, and [tight end Scott] Chandler, and the offensive line,” Wilfork said. “Everything we’ve seen so far with these guys, they’ve been playing some real good football, up-tempo, run inside and outside.
“It’s going to be a challenge, it’s a division opponent. Trust me, our hands are full. I’m pretty sure they’re going to give us everything we can handle.”