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Preview: Patriots @ Bills

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boston.com

Here we go. We've rehashed a million times what needs to happen for our Patriots to get in to the playoffs: beat Buffalo, His Favre-ness trounces Chad or Del Rio's hapless kitties take out Baltimore.  Destiny is not in our hands; there's nothing we can do about it, but concentrate on beating Buffalo.  Yes, I'm drinking the Belichick koolaid, but what more is there to say?

If history is any indication of our chances in Buffalo, we should be ok; we happen to be 15-1 against our division rival.  But, 2008 has been wonky, to say the least and you never know; the 7-8 Bills will have something to prove.  Win this game and not only do they knock a historically dominant Patriots out of the playoff race, but they finish .500 as well as NOT finishing 0-6 against division rivals.  At least that's something to hang your hat on.

On the other side of the coin, we're playing for all the marbles.  A 47-7 rout of Arizona means little when looking forward; the Cards had nothing to worry about after wrapping up the NFC West.  I'm not accusing them of "phoning it in", but there was little reason to press.  The Bills have pride to play for.  Onto the stats...

The Bills are 25th in total offense to our 4th place standing and 20th in total defense to our 10th place.  NE has the edge in run defense, placed at 12th to their 19th.  Passing defense is neck-and-neck with Pats 15th and Bills 16th.  On the offensive side, passing is 10th to the Bills' 20th and rushing is Pats 7th and Bills 16th.  We have a significant edge in everything but pass defense.  What's the bottom line?  With all of our receivers and running backs healthy, we have the offensive edge.

Keys to winning this game?  Pound the rock.  The biggest disparity is our run offense to the Bills' run defense.  Stay on the ground until their DBs commit to assisting in the running game and then air it to Moss.  If he's shut down, go to check down routes with Faulk, Welker, and Gaffney.

Get ready, gang.  I don't know about you, but I'm already pacing the floor.