If you’re still on the fence about who to bet for the Week 11 finale, Covers enlists the help of expert NFL bloggers to make a pitch for their favorite team. DJ Eberle, assistant editor at BuffalowDown, and Richard Hill, editor of Pats Pulpit, strap on the pads and butt heads over which team will cover the spread Thursday: Buffalo or New England?
WHY THE BILLS WILL COVER
DJ Eberle is the assistant editor at BuffalowDown. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter @BuffaLowDown.
Something has to break
Yes, the New England Patriots might be the NFL’s best franchise when it comes to making adjustments, whether it’s in the game plan from a week-to-week basis or in the starting lineup. But at some point, something has to give.
The Patriots are already without Dion Lewis and Julian Edelman – two guys who gashed Buffalo Week 2 – and will be without Jamie Collins and Justin Coleman as well.
Along with the guys already out, four offensive linemen are on the injury report, too. That’s never a good sign.
There’s a point where the phrase “next man up” won’t be enough for the Patriots anymore.
The trifecta is healthy
The Buffalo Bills are 4-1 with the trifecta of Tyrod Taylor, LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins all in the starting lineup this year. And all three are expected to start once again Monday night.
Taylor, McCoy and Watkins are all playmakers at their positions, and with all three of them on the field at once the Buffalo offense can score from any part of the field.
Ground and pound
Is there a defense that can stop the Bills’ rushing attack?
Last week the Bills were able to gash the NFL’s top rushing defense for 148 yards. Facing a banged up New England defense, the second-best unit at stopping the run, there’s no reason to think Buffalo can’t do it all over again Monday night.
New England has done a good job stopping the run in recent weeks, but the Patriots haven’t faced a ground game like Buffalo’s since Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, when DeAngelo Williams ran for 127 yards
WHY THE PATRIOTS WILL COVER
Richard Hill is an editor at Pats Pulpit. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter @patspulpit.
When the Bills played the Patriots in Week 2, New England was without their top defensive tackle, Dominique Easley, and the two best defenders, Chandler Jones and Malcolm Butler, had not yet emerged as the elite players that they’ve been over the past few weeks.
The Patriots now feature top tier players at every position on defense and they won’t let the Bills generate any momentum on offense.
Growth on the offensive line
The Patriots offensive line in Week 2 featured a heavy rotation of young players on the interior line, against the savvy veterans of the Bills. Rookies Shaq Mason, Tre Jackson, and David Andrews played heavy snaps at guard and center.
Well, these young players now have plenty of experience and they’ll be better able to help establish the Patriots rushing game against the Buffalo defensive front.
Additionally, the Patriots will return Sebastian Vollmer to the line, which will give Tom Brady more time in the pocket to pick apart the Bills defense.
Tom Brady is still Tom Brady
The last time that Tom Brady lost a regular season game to an AFC team at home: Week 10 of 2006. That’s nine years ago. The Patriots have owned the Bills for the past 15 years and they’ve owned Rex Ryan for the past five.
The Patriots’ quick passing attack matches up well against the Bills as it negates the Buffalo pass rush and takes advantage of the weakness in the Bills coverage in the middle of the field. While the Patriots won’t have Julian Edelman or Dion Lewis, the rest of the players on offense are ready to pick up where those two left off.
Join the debate. Who covers Monday night: Buffalo or New England?