Patriots 60-second rant: 'D' needs to avoid lapse vs. Bills

Posted Sept. 20, 2011 @ 8:12 p.m.
Posted By Kevin Fishbain

Another week, another tough time to find a chink in the armor of the Patriots. They faced a stiffer foe in the Chargers in Week Two, and despite giving up a lot of yards, again, there was never a doubt that New England would win.

Tom Brady sat in the pocket, picked apart the Chargers' defense, and the running game picked up some nice chunks of yardage when needed. Their lead may have shrunk to six in the fourth quarter with San Diego driving, but you just knew that when Brady got it back, New England would score.

It's one thing to give up yards to Philip Rivers and the Chargers, but it's important for the Patriots' defense to buckle down against Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bills.

The Pats are second-to-last in the league in passing defense through two games. The Bills have executed a balanced offense well in their two wins, leading the league in rushing while Fitzpatrick has thrown seven touchdowns.

Brady's performances have allowed the defense to be somewhat ignored. The pressure up front has been better but not great. The coverage has been dismal at times, and the flats were wide open for San Diego's backs to roam through in Week Two.

Chan Gailey's offense will be ready for Sunday. The Bills showed in their 38-35 comeback win over Oakland that they are prepared to play in a lot of shootouts this season. If the Patriots' defense isn't prepared for Buffalo, an upset is a possibility.

Don't be too fooled by the Bills' 2-0 start — the Patriots should win this game, even if Buffalo is improved and riding a wave of confidence, which should lead to a very intriguing matchup. If Fitzpatrick and Fred Jackson get going early, and if the Bills' defense can create a turnover, New England is ripe for an upset.

Remember: If the Dolphins had scored on 4th-and-1 in the fourth quarter, they would suddenly have been within a touchdown. The Patriots turned the Chargers over three times — via a fumble, interception and downs — in New England territory, including a stop at the goal line on 4th-and-1. The Patriots didn't blow past these teams the way that it seemed, considering Brady's numbers and his ease running the offense.

New England has not lost to Buffalo since 2003 and has won 20-of-21 in the series. The Patriots are sitting pretty atop the AFC right now, but the Bills don't have any pressure. If the defense gives up yards to the Bills as it did in the first two games, the Pats will have a game on their hands.

The Patriots are playing this season like a team on a mission. Teams on a mission don't lose to the Bills.