An early preview of Patriots-Bills

An early preview of Patriots-Bills
September 1, 2013, 10:00 pm
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The Patriots had an eventful training camp with the storylines of their reaction to the Aaron Hernandez case, the absence of Rob Gronkowski and the presence of Tim Tebow.

Their Week 1 opponent, the Buffalo Bills, had a newsy camp of their own and they head into the season opener against the Pats this Sunday with their quarterback situation in disarrary.'s Patriots insider Tom E. Curran takes an early look ahead at the Patriots opening showdown with the Bills.

As of now, the Bills are looking to start undrafted free agent quarterback Jeff Tuel from Washington State against the Pats. It would be the first time since 1970 an undrafted free agent quarterback started his team's first game.

Why Tuel? Veteran Kevin Kolb's career is in jeopardy after he sustained a concussion and top draft pick E.J. Manuel missed the entire preseason after knee surgery. Manuel did return to practice on Sunday but his availability for the opener remains a question mark.

"Whoever it is [starting]," Curran said. "Consider it a check mark for the Patriots."

The preseason showed it could be a long day for Buffalo's QBs, Curran said "because of the Patriots defense's ability to get upfield."

The Bills' quarterback situation puts more pressure on running back C.J. Spiller, as well.

"The Patriots will check him because he is the cog that makes their entire machine go," Curran said.

On offense, the Pats rookie wide receivers, including Aaron Dobson, will make their debuts.

"we've seen Aaron Dobson [in preseason] be a little susceptible to contact at the line of scrimmage," Curran said. So, look for the Buffalo secondary to try and take advantage of that.

Another advantage for the Patriots is their history of changing things up from the preaseason to the regular season.

"What New England has going for it is that so often we've seen them do things that are so varied from the preseason to Week 1 of the regular season," Curran said.