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Week 3 Patriots vs Bills: Players to Watch

Hey Tom, all eyes will be on you.  (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Hey Tom, all eyes will be on you. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
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Who should we focus on in this game?

1. Darius Butler - Is he still going to start? Butler was pulled late in the Week 2 Jets game for Special Teams ace Kyle Arrington. Butler has been looking like Jonathan Wilhite on the field, but to be fair he's been matching up with opposing #1 receivers. Here's the question: With 1st round pick Devin McCourty playing so well, does McCourty get to face Lee Evans? And looking at the Buffalo Bills' receiving core, Roscoe Parrish is their #2 receiver- and he's a gunner down the sideline. Does Kyle Arrington's speed match up better against Parrish than Butler's abilities? Where Butler plays is a key notice of how the coaching staff believes he's playing and how much he plays will show where he is as a player.

2. Ron Brace - Brace had a big day last week, emerging as a solid prospect on the defensive line. Can he continue his success against the Bills? Last year, Brace's real rookie debut came against the Bills towards the end of the season, as Vince Wilfork was out with an injury. Brace was at nose tackle, but he was pushed around by the Bills interior line. Will he have a different game out at defensive end? The Bills have a much stronger interior line than they have tackles and Brace looks to have a field day against right tackle Cornell Green. If Brace has earned his starting position, this is the perfect opportunity to make a statement as a football player.

Who else we should look at? Find out after the jump!

3. Tom Brady and Randy Moss vs Other Receiving Weapons - Brady focused on Moss last week against the Jets, throwing ten passes in his direction and only completing two passes- and also throwing two interceptions. We all know that Brady will want to establish a rapport with Moss this season and will be looking towards Moss all game- but will he be able to look away from Moss when there is no passing lane? Will Wes Welker have another big day? What about Julian Edelman? Brandon Tate? Aaron Hernandez? Rob Gronkowski? Alge Crumpler? There are too many receiving weapons to focus solely on Moss. Will Brady find other players open?

4. Brandon Meriweather - He's been benched in "favor" of James Sanders. No one wants Sanders out there, other than Sanders and Sanders' mom. Has Meriweather proven himself during practices this past week? The defense is better with Meriweather in the secondary and he brings a flash of play-making that Sanders doesn't possess. He is the best player on the Patriots roster to take advantage of errant quarterback throws and the Patriots are unable to capitalize on potential turnovers if he is on the sideline. Does he start? Does he play? How much does he play?

5. Fred Taylor, Sammy Morris, BenJarvus Green-Ellis - Hey, they're the only three running backs left. That doesn't instill much confidence in anyone. Will they be able to find the running game that was lost against the Jets? Who is going to replace Kevin Faulk (spoiler: no single player)? The backs need to help balance the offense and take some of the defensive pressure away from the receivers. If the run can be established, the passing game will be fruitful.

 

Who are you going to be watching?