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Patriots-Bills matchup of the day: Friday

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Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain

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Posted Dec. 24, 2010 @ 1:56 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

Here's a matchup to watch in the Week 16 game between the Patriots and Bills:

Patriots RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis vs. Bills' run defense

One surprising stat from last week's close win over the Packers was how seldom the Patriots ran the football. Going against a weak Packers run defense, the Pats ran the ball just 16 times, but those carries translated to 113 yards (7.1 average), including a 33-yard TD run by Green-Ellis.

Don't expect such a small number of carries on Sunday.

The Bills have the league's worst run defense but counter with some solid secondary players and a ball-hawking pass defense. While Tom Brady had plenty of success against them in Week Three, the Packers showed that the Brady-led juggernaut of a passing offense can be slowed.

Green-Ellis has been a revelation this season, with his first breakout game coming against Buffalo in Week Three when he went 16-98. Against the Pack, he carried the ball just six times, but in the previous five games he had been consistently rushing the ball for over four yards per carry. He has also been a touchdown machine, rushing for 12 this season.

The Bills' linebacking corps has been decimated by injuries this season. LB Paul Posluszny is still there and leading the team in tackles, and NT Kyle Williams is having a big season on the D-line. The Bills did hold the Dolphins to only a 3.4-yard rushing average and just 65 yards on the ground in their Week 15 win. The Patriots have a much more potent passing game than the Dolphins, so they won't mind going one-dimensional. But considering the struggles they had against the Packers and the skill in the Bills' secondary, they will probably prefer a balanced attack, and it starts with Green-Ellis.

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