The New England Patriots are at their worst when Tom Brady is on the ground. The New York Giants have given the rest of the NFL the blueprint on how to beat New England by getting to Brady early and often. While that is easier said than done, the Buffalo Bills are expected to dial up the pressure against Brady on Sunday, a task made slightly easier with the fact that starting guard Logan Mankins did not even make the trip for the Patriots.
The Bills have not been good at stopping the pass, but the Patriots will be without several key offensive starters on Sunday. Along with Mankins, Aaron Hernandez is still out, as is Julian Edelman. Rob Gronkowski may be listed as questionable, but he is fully expected to play. He could, however, see a few less snaps.
With New England having already released Kellen Winslow, they may have to use the remaining tight ends who are healthy and on their roster in to block instead of going down field. New England just signed Matt Tennant, but could opt to replace Mankins with Marcus Cannon or Ryan Wendell.
This should mean that the Bills will blitz the quarterback far more often than normal. That means that Kyle Williams should be able to add to his sack total of three, and also that Mario Williams should start earning some of that money that he received this past offseason. Marcell Dareus could also see a spike in his numbers.
Then again, if Brady unloads the ball quickly enough, he could beat a weak Bills secondary badly enough to where this game gets quickly out of hand. At that point, all Brady would have to do is hand the ball off to Stevan Ridley.
Throw in the fact that they may still be slightly perturbed about losing to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night, and this one could really go either way. If the Bills get to Brady, they should be able to keep it close. If he stays on his feet and remains upright throughout the game, then this one has all the makings.