Patriots-Bills matchup of the day: Saturday

Posted Sept. 24, 2011 @ 2:19 p.m.
Posted By Kevin Fishbain

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

Patriots ORT Nate Solder vs. Bills pass rush

With Sebastian Vollmer out because of a back injury, the rookie Solder will get his second NFL start in three weeks. In the season opener against Cameron Wake and the Dolphins, Solder held his ground for the most part. He gave up one sack and was called for holding, but impressed overall.

In Week Three, Solder doesn't face a pass rusher like Wake, but that doesn't mean that the Bills' defense, who will want to do anything to rattle Tom Brady's rhythm, won't be attacking the rookie.

Bills DE/OLB Chris Kelsay and OLB Shawne Merriman will likely be two of the options to test Solder. Kelsay has put some pressure on QBs this season with two QB hits.

Merriman, who looked like his old self in the team's preseason opener, has been pretty non-existent through two regular season games. He's not on the field on third down and has not even recorded a QB hit. He still has the confidence of the Bills' brass, and going against Solder could help give him some confidence to make a big play.

The Bills have also been impressed with the play of OLB Danny Batten, who could line up against Solder on passing downs.

The Patriots' offensive line has been superb through two games, giving Tom Brady plenty of time to throw, and the Bills are not known for putting pressure on the quarterback. But if Buffalo can take advantage of Solder's inexperience, it could affect the Patriots' high-powered offensive attack.