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NOV 19 - NOV 26, 2015

Bills Have Shot to Knock Off Banged Up Patriots

Tony Farina

NOV 19, 2015

Tony Farina

Anyone who has followed my coverage of the Buffalo Bills over the last several years knows that I’m anything but a cheerleader for this franchise and it will take more than a couple of wins over the Dolphins and the Jets to convince me that this is the year the longest active playoff drought (15 years) in the NFL will come to an end.

But I have some hope that this year’s team may have the firepower to make a real run and it could start on Monday night when the now healthy Bills (5 – 4) take on the banged up New England Patriots and I believe it is a game that Buffalo may be able to win,

Yes, the Patriots are still undefeated (9 – 0) and have owned the Bills in big games, but last Sunday Tom Brady and crew barely got by the New York Giants, 27 – 26, courtesy of a last-second 54-yard field goal by the sensational Stephen Gostkowski, and lost their best wide receiver, Julian Edelman, in the process.

It was reported after the game that Edelman suffered a broken bone in his foot and will miss the game against the Bills on Monday night in Foxboro Stadium and may be sidelined for several games.  The Patriots are also hurting on the offensive line and Brady is paying the price although they still found a way to win against a very determined effort by the Giants who unfortunately didn’t finish the game.

Brady looked nearly human, throwing a goal line interception and barely escaping another pick inside two minutes when Landon Collins dropped what probably would have been a game- clinching interception for the Giants.  Given life, the champion Patriots pulled out a victory.

 “We’ve got to find different ways,” Brady said after the game.  “Guys stepped in when Julian got hurt.  We’re down a bunch of tackles and guys are playing out of position, and I think we just keep grinding our way through it.  You’ve got to find different ways to win.”

Brady and the Pats did find a way to win, just like they did in the last Super Bowl when the Seahawks gave them a chance with a pass on the goal line that the Patriots intercepted giving them their fourth Lombardi Trophy.

But I believe the injury to Edelman and the makeshift offensive line makes the Pats vulnerable and gives the healthy Bills a fighting chance to beat the Super Bowl champs and hand them their first defeat of the season.

Now I know the Pats still have Brady and TE Rob Gronkowski who scored on a 76-yard pass play against the Giants, calling the victory a character builder.  But the Bills are showing signs they mean business on offense with a powerful running game and the steady play of quarterback Tyrod Taylor who is doing what it takes to win.

Edelman, a terrific receiver, is a major loss for the Patriots and coupled with the offensive line problems, Brady may not be able to put up the kind of numbers that he did earlier in the season in the 40 – 32 win at the Ralph.  The Patriots have pretty much owned the Bills for a very long time, winning 27 of the last 30 games, but maybe Rex Ryan and crew can turn the tables on Bill Belichick and Brady next Monday night and give themselves a much-needed win against the reigning champions.

I’m not predicting a Bills victory, but I do think that Buffalo is showing the kind of offensive punch that has been missing during the lengthy playoff drought and if the defense can pressure Brady, a win is possible.

LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams give the Bills a strong ground game, both showing speed and power, and if wide receiver Sammy Watkins can stay on the field, he puts great pressure on a suspect Patriots’ secondary and could open things up for the other Bills receivers.

In short, it seems like things are setting up in the Bills favor for the Monday prime time game against the Pats, and a win that would give the team a great deal of confidence during this tough road stretch and give fans hope that this Bills team is for is real.

There is always a danger in falling for the Bills because they have a legacy of failure that is hard to forget. .But Wilson is gone and his chief money generator, Russ Brandon, has assumed a lower football profile, and to me those are positive developments for the team now owned by fracking kingpin Terry Pegula.  We haven’t seen too much of him, either, and Coach Rex Ryan is now the face of the franchise, as he should be, and while the Bills struggled early, Ryan has brought them back and they are finally healthy and have no excuses against a Patriots team that looks vulnerable.






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