Week 17: Bills vs. Patriots
The Bills close out the 2011 season on New Year's day in New England. The Bills will be heading right into the jaws of the lion. The Patriots will be looking for revenge after the Bills dramatic come from behind victory in week 3. To add more incentive New England can clinch homefield advantage throughout the playoffs with a win.
Sunday, Jan. 1st
FACTS AND FIGURES
||Buffalo (6-9) vs. New England (12-3)
||Network: CBS; DirecTV: 705; Sirius: 134
||Don Criqui and Randy Cross
||Patriots by 11½
||Patriots lead 60-41-1 (Bills 0-1 in playoffs)
||Bills Won 1
||Bills 34-31 in Buffalo (2011)
||Rush (19th); Pass (2nd); overall (2nd)
||Rush (17th); Pass (32nd); overall (32nd)
||Rush (11th); Pass (15th); overall (14th)
||Rush (28th); Pass (15th); overall (24th)
The Bills continue to be decimated by injuries. They lost three more players in last week's win over Denver. Demetrius Bell, Kraig Urbik, and Mike Caussin each suffered knee injuries and are out this week. Kamar Aiken suffered a shoulder injury but should be ok to play. Brad Smith left the Broncos game with a hip pointer and is missing practice time with a hamstring injury. They may get Ruvell Martin back who was sidelined last week with a hamstring injury.
The Patriots are banged up along the offensive line. Matt Light missed last week's game after re-aggravating an ankle injury in pregame warmups but has a good chance at being ready to go this week. Logan Mankins suffered a knee injury in the win over Miami and is expected to miss the game. OT Sebastian Vollmer is also missing practice time this week with a back and foot injury.
Check out our Bills Daily Injury Page throughout the week for the latest updates on the injured players.
LB/S Bryan Scott vs. TE Rob Gronkowski:
The Bills will probably use their hybrid player Bryan Scott against the Western New York product who has owned the Bills and just about everyone else in the league.
WR Stevie Johnson vs. CB Devin McCourty:
Johnson needs just 36 yards to complete his second straight 1,000 yard season as he heads into free agency. He will be lined up against McCourty who allowed Johnson to have a good day in the first meeting between the two teams.
CB Aaron Williams vs. WR Wes Welker:
Williams will likely matchup against one of the top receivers in the league in Welker. He has put up phenomenal stats with 116 catches for over 1,500 yards. A very tough matchup for the rookie who will get safety help and perhaps some linebacker help all game long.
C Colin Brown vs. NT Vince Wilfork:
Brown will be making his first career start at a position he isn't used to playing against one of the great nose tackles in the game. A tough challenge indeed. He needs to take care of the little things like getting the shotgun snap from center on target to Ryan Fitzpatrick.
KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Pressure Brady: The only way to get Tom Brady off his game is to get pressure on him. If the Bills can make him feel uncomfortable he may make a couple of mistakes.
2. Give Spiller The Ball: This is something Chan Gailey has refused to do. Give him the ball 25 times on the ground and another 5 in the passing game. The more touches he gets, the better he will do and the longer they will keep the Patriots offense off the field.
3. Stay Focused: The players can't start thinking about their offseason plans. They have one more division game and they could hurt the Pats heading into the playoffs with an upset win. That should be enough for them to play hard throughout this game.
BILLS DAILY PREDICTION
The Patriots are motivated and will look to take care of business early so they can possibly rest some starters for the playoffs late in the game. The Bills haven't won in New England this century and don't expect them to win this finale. This game has rout written all over it:
Patriots 38, Bills 14
Season Prediction Record: (5-10)
Season Record Against The Spread: (5-10)
Bills Blitz - Coming Sunday Night!
Gameday Grades - Coming Sunday Night!