It’s time for Week 4 in the NFL. Right after a third week of replacement officials, the replacements and the NFL hit an all-time low with the horrific display of officiating in the course of the Monday night football game among the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks. Since of the heavy backlash from the fans and players, the NFL and the typical referee’s finally settled their differences.
Now, onto the Week 4 matchup amongst the Buffalo Bills (2-1) and the New England Patriots (1-two). Following a porous outing in Week 1, the Bills have rebounded and won their last two games. On the flip side, the Patriots won their 1st game of the season, and have lost their previous two games. The Patriots have not lost 3 games in a row below Bill Belichek and Tom Brady since the 2002 season. Can the Bills be the very first team in almost ten years that offers the Patriots their third loss in a row? Let’s take a look and see.
The Patriots are currently ranked 9th in general offense (12th in rushing and 9th in passing), and 24th in general defense (9th in rush defense, 24th in pass defense). The Bills are at the moment ranked 11th in overall offense (3rd in rushing, 26th in passing), and 19th in all round defense (14th in rush defense, and 19th in pass defense).
In a earlier post, I discussed how the Bills greatest possibility of beating the Patriots is in the initial division game they play against them of the year. Beginning from the 2003 season, here are the scores from the first division game of the year vs the Patriots: 2003: Bills 31- Patriots , 2004: Patriots 31 – Bills 17, 2005: Patriots 21 – Bills 16, 2006: Patriots 19 – Bills 17, 2007: Patriots 38 – Bills 7, 2008: Patriots 20 – Bills 10, 2009: Patriots 25 – Bills 24, 2010: Patriots 38 – Bills 30, 2011: Bills 34 – Patriots 31. Throughout this time span, the Patriots outscored the Bills 223-186 in the 1st division games of the year. With no the two Bills victories (from 2003 and 2011), the Patriots outscored the Bills 192-121.
Now for the scary element, the second division games of the year vs the Patriots: 2003: Patriots 31 – Bills , 2004: Patriots 29 – Bills six, 2005: Patriots 35 – Bills 7, 2006: Patriots 28 – Bills six, 2007: Patriots 56 – Bills ten, 2008: Patriots 13 – Bills , 2009: Patriots 17 – Bills 10, 2010: Patriots 34 – Bills three, 2011: Patriots 49 – Bills 21. In the same time span as stated above, the Patriots outscored the Bills 292-57 in the second division game of the year. In every single game given that 2003, the Patriots have beaten and heavily outscored the Bills more in the second division game than in the initial.
The positives/benefits for the Bills going into this game are:
The Bills offensive line has not permitted a sack in 3 games played (I am not counting the ball slipping out of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s hand as a sack).
The Bills offensive line has been very instrumental in making holes and downfield blocks to help spring their Running Backs (RBs) for big gains.
The Bills defensive front 4 has been considerably enhanced against the run so far this season.
The Bills defensive front four have been quite excellent the last two games at collapsing the pocket, making pressure and sacks. This is large taking into consideration Tom Brady is very very good at stepping up into the pocket when he feels pressure coming from the edges.
RB Fred Jackson most most likely will return to play on Sunday.
The Patriots offensive line has gone by way of some modifications in the offseason, and don’t appear to be the same dominant force that they when had been.
The negatives for the Bills are:
RB CJ Spiller is most probably out for this game due to a shoulder injury, sustained this previous Sunday against the Browns.
Even if RB Fred Jackson does play on Sunday, how productive will he be coming off a knee injury from Week 1?
Wide Receiver (WR) David Nelson is out for the season, so that takes away a massive red zone target for Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The Bills secondary is extremely young. Even though the secondary has improved more than the past two games, they are nonetheless really inexperienced and are nevertheless acquiring burned for big plays. Patriots QB Tom Brady is a single of the best in the league at playing the “dink and dunk” game.
If both Spiller and Jackson had been 100%, and the Bills didn’t manhandled by the Jets in Week 1, I would predict the Bills to win this 1. But, thinking about the injuries to the Bills, and the truth that the Patriots will be playing with a enormous chip on their shoulders following losing two games in a row, I’m going with my gut feeling and taking the Patriots on this one particular.
I went 7-9 in my Week three predictions (26-22 for the season). Right here are my other Week four predictions:
Ravens over Browns
Falcons more than Panthers
Lions over Vikings
Texans more than Titans
Chargers over Chiefs
Seahawks more than Rams
Cardinals more than Dolphins
Broncos more than Raiders
Bengals more than Jaguars
Packers more than Saints
Redskins over Buccaneers
Giants more than Eagles
Bears over Cowboys