Sunday, December 29, 2013

MusketFire: New England Patriots Defeat Buffalo Bills and Lock up Bye

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On a rainy afternoon in Foxboro, MA the 11-4 New England Patriots faced the 6-9 Buffalo Bills in their final game of the 2013 NFL season.  With wins by the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals in the earlier timeslot, the game became a must win for New England to hold on the #2 seed and a bye in the playoffs.

The Patriots knew Buffalo, with their dynamic front seven, would be difficult to throw against. The Patriots lost wide receiver Aaron Dobson early in the game to a foot injury.  With rookie Josh Boyce already out, the Patriots seemed to go two wide receiver with Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman along with two tight ends or a fullback for most of the game.

It was a sloppy game in the rain as both teams leaned on the running game. Quarterback Tom Brady only threw for 122 yards, but with Stevan Ridley and LeGarrette Blount running hard on the slippery surface.  The Patriots rushed for 267 yards and Blount accounted for 189 yards on 24 carries and Ridley added another 74 on only 12 carries.  Blount had two over 30 yard touchdown runs and also kick returns of 82 and 62 yards.

For New England, it was a strong game where it would have been easy to give up with the bad weather.  The defense held down the Bills for a good part of three quarters. The Bills racked up almost 400 total yards, but the defense was able to make some big stops for New England. Most encouraging for the defense was that they were able to win and hold down the point totals without the benefit of a number of turnovers.


In the end, New England won 34-20 and locked up the number two spot in the AFC and a first round bye in the playoffs.  The Patriots will have a week off to get healthy and have a home playoff game in the Divisional round...Click here for much more: http://musketfire.com/2013/12/29/new-england-patriots-defeat-buffalo-bills-lock-bye/

Cover32: Preview: Pats have a fight on their hands against Buffalo

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The New England Patriots finish off the 2013 regular season against the opponent they faced to open the season: the Buffalo Bills. In Week 1, the Patriots jumped out to a 17-7 lead before falling down 21-17 and needing a Stephen Gostkowski field goal with five seconds to play in the game to win 23-21. It set the tone for a season of close games and comeback victories for New England.
In Week 17, the Bills are playing for pride. At 6-9 they have assured themselves at least a tie for last place in the AFC East while New England has locked up the division title already. Buffalo’s season has been stunted by inconsistent offensive play by being forced to play three young quarterbacks: first round draft pick E.J. Manuel, backup Thaddeus Lewis, and third-string undrafted free agent Jeff Tuel. This week, New England will match up against young backup Thaddeus Lewis as E.J. Manuel is unable to go due to a sprained LCL in his left knee.
Beyond the big question of the quarterback in Buffalo, the Patriots have to deal with safety Devin McCourty likely missing the game after not practicing all week. These are three keys to focus on as the Patriots go for their 12th win and attempt to lock up a bye week and free pass to the divisional round.
Who is Thad Lewis?
Buffalo backup quarterback Thad Lewis has started four games for Buffalo this season: nearly beating Cincinnati, beating Miami twice, and losing to New Orleans. Lewis is mobile with a strong arm and his biggest issue is accuracy. He has a reputation as a tough quarterback who can take a hit (see the game tape of the New Orleans game). His lack of playing time is the big issue that the Patriots defense will need to exploit...http://cover32.com/patriots/2013/12/29/preview-pats-have-a-fight-on-their-hands-against-buffalo/

FirstStopFantasy: Cleveland Browns Attempting to Finish 2013 Season Strong

Cleveland Browns Attempting to Finish 2013 Season Strong - My final Cleveland Browns game preview for 2013 looks at the Browns trying to knock a division rival out of the playoff picture at FirstStopFantasy.com

FullPressCoverage.com: New England Patriots’ Top 2019 NFL Draft Picks Show Evolution on Both Sides of the Ball

The New England Patriots may have tipped their hand with their first two 2019 NFL Draft picks. Choosing a bigger, more aggressive outside-...