Five ruminations before Patriots-Bills kickoff

Five ruminations before Patriots-Bills kickoff
September 8, 2013, 12:45 pm
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1. The Bills are without probably their best defender, safety Jairus Byrd. OOOOPPPPS!! That’s a problem for Buffalo who already had issues stacked up like beef on weck (local Buffalo delicacy). Byrd, who’s got a bad foot, forces Aaron Williams and Jim Leonhard up the depth chart. Neither is a big human, Leonhard in particular. While the Patriots would likely love to establish the run and their MO for 2013 season could be all about that, the secondary will prove tempting.

2. With the Patriots staring at a short week – just Tuesday to prepare for the Jets on the practice field – best-case scenario would be for New England to put this thing to bed in a hurry. They’re not thinking that going into the game, but later in the game it could be a rep-management factor.

3. Leon Washington and Brandon Bolden both being out puts a crimp in the Patriots special teams style. Bolden is on several different return and coverage units; Washington is the main kickoff return man (in theory). The Patriots had some coverage issues in the preseason so – with Buffalo a traditionally tough special teams group – the Patriots will have some heat added on fourth down.

4. Will the Patriots spy C.J. Spiller? He is their best offensive weapon and – because of his quickness – commands special attention. If you are Bill Belichick, you want to make EJ Manuel beat you, not Spiller.

5. Danny Amendola will be a focal point of this offense because the slot receiver always is. But you can plan on him being used extensively on Sunday against the Bills A) because he’s the most experienced wideout B) to shut people up about the guy he’s replacing.