Found November 09, 2012 on
Boston Sports Then & Now:
Will Gronkowski dominate his hometown team once again?
The second half of the season has arrived for the 2012 New England Patriots. With a roller coaster 5-3 start, Bill Belichick and crew have weathered the storm to settle on top of the AFC East. Furthermore, the Patriots went on their Week 9 bye after an impressive schoolyard stomping of the Rams – winning 45-7 and looking like the unstoppable 2007 attack. Since 2003, Belichick teams hold a record of 8-1 in games after the bye, New England lost to Pittsburgh 25-17 last year. The jury is still not out on the 2012 Patriots, three of the next four games come against division rivals.
The 3-5 Buffalo Bills will travel into Gillette Stadium this Sunday, creating an opportunity for the Patriots to distinguish themselves and cement their slot atop the AFC East for good. New England has not lost a game in the second half of the season since Week 17 of the 2009 season. Buffalo has not beat the Patriots on the road since Week 10 of 2000, will the tables turn? Check out these three keys to victory for the Patriots to extend their second half success come Sunday:
1) Run the Ball: It was not too long ago (Week 4) that the Patriots dropped a 45-point half and 580 total yards to dismantle the hopeful Bills at home. How did New England achieve their success? For starters, the team rushed 40 times – spreading the love to Bolden (16 ATT, 137 yards, 1 TD) and Ridley (22 ATT 106 yards, 2 TD). Brady even joined the mix with a four-yard TD scamper that fired up the Hall-Of-Famer and his squad on the bench.
The Patriots need to keep the Bills on their heels by executing a balanced offensive attack. Week in and week out opposing defenses face the challenge of stopping the monster that is the New England offensive unit. Buffalo is coming off a 21-9 loss to the Houston Texas where Arian Foster rushed for 111 yards and Andre Johnson hauled in 8 rec for 118 yards. The week before that, Chris Johnson ripped Buffalo for 198 yards and 2 TD on the ground. Setting up success in the pass game will rely heavily on New England’s ability to expose the Bills pompous rush defense, Buffalo ranks second to last in the NFL with 169.2 YPG and last in YPC, giving up 5.6 yards per scamper.
2) Blanket C.J. Spiller: While Fred Jackson has returned from a Week One injury, Spiller, a swiss-army knife x-factor, can hurt the Patriots on multiple fronts. His presence in the screen game and having the ball in the open field has to scare Belichick. Spiller is averaging a ridiculous 7.2 YPC on 78 ATT, netting him 562 yards and 4 TD. He also has 24 REC for 236 yards and another score.
C.J. has become an old friend as of late and you can expect New England to give Buffalo’s Reggie Bush a little extra attention on Sunday. Although QB Ryan Fitzpatrick hung 350 yards and 4 TD on our pedestrian defensive backs in Week 4, he also threw 4 INT. Expect the Patriots front seven to limit Spiller and force the Harvard grad to beat us through the air. Stevie Johnson will get his; it’s just a matter of how much and how well New England can bend without breaking.
3) Come Out Firing: In the Patriots Midseason Report Card, the glaring core competency of earning first downs and executing methodical drives rang true. The Week 4 matchup put New England on their heels for a bit due to Buffalo’s fast start, going up 21-7 right after half time. It is imperative that McDaniels and the Patriots keep the Bills off balance all afternoon. The no-huddle offense has thrown defenses for fits and even forced the Jets to identify this fast pace to league officials. Keep in mind, New England scored five touchdowns in a row against this defense. The Patriots have the number one offense in the NFL and it will be on full display at home on Sunday.
I see the Patriots earning their sixth victory with a 35-21 win.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Mississippi product RB Brandon Bolden was a nice discovery for the New England Patriots this season, but while dealing with a knee injury against the Seattle Seahawks in mid October, his return to the team will be delayed even further. The NFL handed Bolden with a four game suspension for violating the league’s substance policy.
The Patriots announced the suspension on Friday but...
Fresh off their bye week, the New England Patriots are recharged and ready for the time of year that has typically produced their best stretch of football under the guidance of Bill Belichick. Since 2002, no team has performed better against its division rivals in November and December than the Patriots, and they'll get an opportunity to add to that record Sunday when they...
The Sporting News player polls continued today and wouldn’t you know Belichick places second...
New England Patriots running back Brandon Bolden was hit with a four-game suspension without pay Friday for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances. Bolden will begin serving his punishment immediately. He'll be eligible to return to the Patriots' active roster after their Dec. 2 game against Miami. The undrafted rookie from Mississippi wasn...
If you have Danny Woodhead on your fantasy team, give him a chance this weekend against the Buffalo Bills.Two years ago, in Danny Woodhead's New England Patriot debut, Woody ran for 43 yards and a touchdown in Foxboro. Later in the year, at Buffalo, Woodhead ran for 93 yards and a score. Yes, that was two years ago and his stats have no bearing on this Sunday's game at Gillette...
Last week: 4 (+0)
FOXBORO, Mass. — Coming into the 2012 season, the Patriots biggest question mark seemed to be their offensive line.
With the retirement of Pro Bowl tackle Matt Light, the absence of guard Brian Waters and the exile of center Dan Koppen, there were some wholesale changes being made in front of Tom Brady. And after a tumultuous preseason, the whispers of concern quickly grew into...
You just had to expect Rex Ryan would weigh in on this one.
Tuesday we reported that, along with Bill Belichick, Ryan was voted the most overrated coach in the NFL by a Sporting News poll which took the pulse of players. Given Ryan's penchant for opening his mouth whether it's warranted or not, it's unsurprising that he took the opportunity to share his thoughts on the...
Butler was drafted by the New England Patriots in the second round (41st overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft. On July 10, 2009, he signed a four-year contract with the Patriots that included a total of about $2.1 million in guaranteed money.
Butler got his first career start and interception against the Tennessee Titans. The following week he got his second interception against the Tampa...
Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez will be a game-time decision Sunday against Buffalo according to ESPN's John Clayton. Hernandez has missedFantasy Spin:Hernandez has been limited to four games this season because of a high ankle sprain. The prevailing thought is that he'll play on Sunday but it would be wise to check again before Sunday's 1 p.m. start just to be safe.
I’m back Juan…
Juan’s In Tight With
Aaron Hernandez vs Buf
Hernandez returns from his ankle injury and with 2 more weeks to heal, he should be ready to roll. Speaking of rolling, the Pats are going to roll the Bills and Buffalo has allowed 100 yards or more in 3 out of the last 5 games, with 3 TDs allowed in those games.
Heath Miller vs KC
Miller is tied with Owen...
New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan is not all that upset about recently being voted the most overrated coach in the NFL. Instead, the Jolly Green Giant has found a way to put a positive spin on the whole thing. If nothing else, Rex can now say he beat Bill Belichick at something.
“My first thought was I looked and saw who was second,” Ryan said on Wednesday according to the NY...