Patriots-Bills matchup of the day: Wednesday

Posted Dec. 28, 2011 @ 4:24 p.m.
Posted By Kevin Fishbain

Here's a key matchup to watch in the Week 17 season finale between the Patriots and Bills:

Patriots QB Tom Brady vs. Bills safeties George Wilson and Jairus Byrd

When the Bills rallied in Week Three to upset the Patriots, it was due in large part to a very opportunistic defense that took advantage of some batted balls. The Bills picked off Brady four times in that game, and Wilson's pick in the fourth quarter set up Buffalo for its game-tying drive.

A Drayton Florence pick-six on the next Patriots play gave the Bills the lead.

Interceptions were a concern for Brady in the first half of the season. He threw 10 picks in the team's first eight games.

Since Week Nine, though, he has thrown only one pick, a span that included four consecutive games without an interception. That one pick came against the Redskins in Week 14.

Wilson and Byrd, the Bills' ball-hawking safeties, know that their best (and probably only) way to upset the Patriots again is to turn the Pats over by picking Brady off, a tough task of late.

Brady's precision passing makes it difficult to collect interceptions. Last season, he set the all-time record for most consecutive pass attempts without throwing a pick. He rarely throws into double coverage and has no problem throwing the ball away if no one is open.

Byrd and Wilson have combined for seven of the team's 20 interceptions this season.