Wounded or dangerous? That’s the big question about the Pats these days, as they are 1-2, under .500 for the first time in 9 years, and ready to head to Buffalo to play the Bills Sunday.
Buffalo on the other hand find themselves at 2-1, looking good despite injuries to their two top running backs in Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller.
They are coming off a 24-14 win over Cleveland last week, a game they had to battle to win after losing Spiller early in the game to injury.
The Bills may get Jackson back this week, which would be a huge lift as they look to stay up top the AFC East tied with the Jets heading into Sunday.
For the Pats, last weeks letdown vs the Ravens showed more about how much further the defense needs to come than anything else.
They had the Ravens on the ropes all night, but couldn’t finish and then lost it in the end as Joe Flacco took Baltimore down the field for the game-winning field goal.
A loss Sunday would give the Patriots three consecutive defeats for the first time since a four-game slide Sept. 29-Oct. 27, 2002, while matching the club’s total from the entire 2011 regular season.
The Pats want some revenge for last seasons loss to the Bills early in the year, as the Bills intercepted Tom Brady four times – matching a career high for the two-time NFL MVP – and rallied to win 34-31 on Rian Lindell‘s 28-yard field goal as time expired.
The task of beating the Bills becomes all the harder if Buffalo gets Jackson back. The Bills RB suffered a sprained knee in the season opener, is questionable to play Sunday, but Jackson was cleared by a doctor and is expected to return ahead of schedule.
“You lose a guy like (Spiller), it definitely adds to wanting to get back out there and helping your team,” said Jackson, who practiced for a third straight day Friday. “But from that standpoint, I always wanted to be back versus New England just because it is New England and it’s a tough game for us.”
Jackson was instrumental to the win over the Patriots last year, running for 74 yards and a touchdown on just 12 carries while adding five catches for 87 yards. He missed the road loss with an injury.
If he plays, he’ll go up against a D that allowed 503 yards last week – the fourth-highest total in the NFL this year.
Look for the Pats want to get it to shootout mode, trying to make sure to keep Brady on his feet, and going downfield against the Bills secondary.
This has all the makings of an over game, but in the end, I still think Buffalo has a lot of momentum, and will walk out of Ralph Wilson Stadium at 3-1 and a three-point winner.
Buffalo 30 New England 27