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Patriots vs. Bills: Game Thread #2

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New England Patriots (12-3) vs. Buffalo Bills (6-9)

Sunday, January 1st, 2012 | 1:00 PM ET

TV: CBS | Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub

Bills Coverage: Buffalo Rumblings

First half thoughts:

  • For the second straight week, the Patriots got off to a terrible start on both sides of the ball. The Bills are a team with nothing to lose, and converted fourth down conversions on their two opening drives, eventually jumping out to a 21-0 lead.
  • The Patriots have made some changes in the secondary. Devin McCourty is lining up at free safety, with Pat Chung playing closer to the line of scrimmage. With McCourty at safety, the Patriots have brought in Antwaun Molden to play LCB, and he's had an abysmal first half. Abysmal. The Patriots have done a solid job stopping the run, but have struggled significantly in covering Bills' receivers and backs in man coverage. The Patriots haven't allowed a point since bringing in Brandon Spikes on the fourth drive.
  • Offensively, the Patriots couldn't muster a passing or rushing first down until the last play of the first quarter. Once the team moved to the no huddle, they found success through the air and on the ground. Stevan Ridley has ran tough with 48 yards on nine carries, while Aaron Hernandez leads the way in receiving with 81 yards on four catches and a 39 yard touchdown.
  • The Patriots have the chance to clinch the #1 seed in the AFC playoffs with a win today, and they didn't come out like a first place team. While the Patriots are within seven points at 21-14 and have a good chance to complete the comeback, there is no reason to believe that the Patriots can win a game in the playoffs if they come out of the gates like they have the past two weeks.