It is nice to know that Coach Rex Ryan hasn’t allowed himself to bask for too long in the glory of the Bills’ 16-0 victory over the Patriots a few weeks ago. It was a great victory but Ryan isn’t blind to the fact that the Patriots were hardly at their best. Tom Brady wasn’t in the picture on that day. And Ryan agrees with NFL sportsbook betting odds that the second round might go a little different.
Tom Brady is not only back, he is having the time of his career, so Ryan has a lot to contemplate. Of course, that doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t elicit satisfaction from his victory.
The Bills played well that day, so they should rightly boast about their win. However, the next encounter with New England will present a whole new challenge.
Coach Bill Belichick didn’t pull his punches when he criticized the Patriots for their performance in the Bills game; he thought the team failed in every single aspect and he said as much.
With Brady finally stepping back into the fold, the Patriots Offense is thriving. They have decimated one opponent after another, showing a domineering presence that the Bills didn’t see when they faced Belichick’s team the first time.
The Patriots haven’t thrown an interception this season, and they are the only team that can make that boast at the moment. With a passer rating of 115.9, you would be hard pressed to find better opponents for Buffalo than the Patriots.
Additionally, the Patriots are very confident in their defense. Rob Ninkovich wasn’t around the first time the Patriots faced the Bills. Like Brady, a four-game suspension (he violated the league’s performance-enhancing substances policy) kept him away from the field.
Rob will also feature in the next game against the Bills and that should help the Patriots contain and extinguish quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Taylor was instrumental in the Bills’ first win, finishing with 246 yards passing (as well as a touchdown).
Rob knows just how explosive Taylor can be, and he understands the need to stifle the Quarterback’s effectiveness. If they fail to keep him in the pocket, the Patriots might repeat their previous failure.
Of course, while Brady and Rob’s return is worth celebrating, one cannot help but worry about Stephen Gostkowski whose performance could very well sink the Patriots.
Gostkowski hasn’t really missed an extra point since his rookie year in 2006, so he was shouldering a lot of hopes when the season began; however, he missed two in the previous two games.
His field goals record (9 for 12) is also a little worrisome. Gostkowski recognizes that he isn’t performing as well as he could be, and he has been quite had on his failures, even though Belichick has commended him for his efforts.
The coach understands the Kicker’s problems and they could just as easily work through his weaknesses before the Bills game comes around. Changes in the types of techniques the Patriots are deploying on kickoffs (as a result of recent alterations to NFL rules) might be the cause of Gostkowski’s stumbles.
Gostkowski doesn’t have to be perfect. He just needs to do his best and hope that his teammates can compensate for some of his mistakes.