Could Rex Ryan’s last stand at Gillette Stadium come Sunday afternoon? It’s possible. The Buffalo Bills are 1-2, and while a loss to the New England Patriots likely won’t get Ryan fired, it could lead to his dismissal at some point.
Because Brady isn’t playing, it’s Ryan vs. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. Here’s how Belichick can beat Ryan for the 12th time in 16 games.
This game preview could be really short if we wanted it to be: If the Patriots win the turnover battle, they’ll likely win. If Jimmy Garoppolo or Jacoby Brissett turn the ball over at an excessive rate, they probably won’t.
Don’t worry. We’ll expound.
The Patriots successfully have been able to force and avoid turnovers so far this season. They’re currently ranked fifth with a plus-four turnover differential. Their defense/special teams has three interceptions and four rumble recoveries, while their quarterbacks have no interceptions and the offense hasn’t lost any fumbles.
You never know when that could change with young quarterbacks at the helm, however. Garoppolo and Brissett have been solid game managers, but there’s still some uncertainty with both QBs. Garoppolo is dealing with a shoulder injury, and Brissett has a thumb ailment, both of which could affect their throwing ability and accuracy.
CONTAIN TYROD TAYLOR
Don’t expect many pressures or sacks from the Patriots’ front seven in Week 4. Pressure from the edge could lead to wide open rushing lanes for Taylor, who has 16 rushing attempts for 112 yards with a touchdown this season.
Taylor had nine rushes for 76 yards in Week 3, when the Bills were without star wideout Sammy Watkins. The receiver was placed on injured reserve Friday, placing more pressure on Taylor to carry the team with his legs.
Defensive ends Chris Long, Jabaal Sheard and Trey Flowers must show patience to keep contain on Taylor. The Patriots could attempt to pressure Taylor up the middle with linebackers Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower, if active.
EARLY SUCCESS ON THE GROUND
Blount is averaging 3.3 yards per carry in the first quarter, 2.6 yards per carry in the first half and 5 yards per carry in the second half.
He averaged just 1.6 yards per carry in the first half in Week 3 and 5.5 yards per carry in the second half.
To make this game a lot easier, Blount will need to mix in some big plays early against the Bills. It also would help if the Patriots’ run game wasn’t as boom or bust as it’s been early in the season. So far, it’s been a lot of plays for 1 yard, no gain and negative yards with big plays mixed in near the end of games.
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