On the Beat: 5 questions about the Bills, Part Deux

We check in this week with Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News to find out what’s been going with the Bills:

1. So the Patriots scored 45 points in the second half against the Bills the first time around. Considering no Mark Anderson, Aaron Williams or Terrence McGee, we’re going with 90 points in both halves this time around, right?

JS: “45! It still doesn’t seem possible, although I guess it should considering the Patriots have made a habit of putting up Madden numbers against Buffalo. Here’s where the Bills are at defensively: 374 yards allowed last week against Houston was seen as serious progress. First-year defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt is under serious pressure to get things right. It has to start with Mario Williams, the highest-paid defensive player in league history. He played maybe his best game of the season last week, just 12 days after left wrist surgery. The Bills will need him to improve on that Sunday.”


2. Who is the one Bills player most Patriots fans don’t know right now, but will by the end of the game on Sunday?

JS: “Defensive end Kyle Moore. He got his first career sack last week against Houston and has flashed some solid pass rush ability in the past few weeks as a situational player. As mentioned above, Mark Anderson is out, and the status of Chris Kelsay – who left practice Thursday with a neck injury – is unknown, so Moore might start on Sunday. Even if he doesn’t, he’s performed well enough to see his role expand.”

3. What’s the biggest weakness on the Bills’ offense you expect the Patriots to try to exploit?

JS: “The right arm of Ryan Fitzpatrick. He made some plays down the field against the Patriots in the first game, but his average of 6.5 yards per attempt underscores how much of a struggle that’s been all season. Fitzpatrick has been careless with the ball and hasn’t given defenses any reason to respect his arm and not put eight defenders in the box to slow running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller.”

4. What’s the biggest weakness on the Bills’ defuse you expect the Patriots to try to exploit?


JS: “The Bills depth chart at cornerback currently reads like this: Two rookies, a second-year player, a fourth-year player on his third team who’s played in just seven career games – and was just signed by the team Wednesday — and a fifth-year veteran who’s played his way off the defense in two straight seasons. In short, it’s a mess. Leodis McKelvin is the aforementioned veteran member of the group, but he’s only in the lineup because of injuries to Williams and McGee. Slot cornerback Justin Rogers was torched in the last matchup with New England by Wes Welker, and there’s no reason the Patriots shouldn’t be salivating about that matchup again.”

5. Finally, Bills win on Sunday if …

JS: “Tom Brady mistakenly set his clock back two hours last weekend? Recent history in Gillette Stadium doesn’t give the Bills much hope. Their best chance is to follow the blueprint from their home win last year. They’ll need to win the turnover battle, improve their third-down defense, control the clock with Spiller and Jackson and get a big play out of their return game, which has been strong with Leodis McKelvin and Brad Smith. It’s a lot to ask.”

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