Q&A Session with Buffalo Wins Part 2

As we do almost every week, it’s time for our Q&A session with a blogger who covers the Patriots next opponent.  Helping out for a second time this season is Buffalo Wins, a great blog covering the Bills and Sabres.  I asked the site’s lead writer, Joe Pinzone, a series of questions about the Billss, and he, in turn, asked me a few about the Pats.  His responses are below, followed by a link to Foxboro Blog’s Q&A session on Buffalo Wins.

1. Ever since starting 0-8, the Bills have won 4 of their last 6. What is the one main reason for the turnaround?

I think the Bills being able to find balance with their offensive attack is a major reason. During their 0-8 start, they came close several times in beating some decent teams like the Pats, Ravens and Chiefs. However, the team was just too reliant on the passing game. I remember after week six, the Bills ranked 24th in rushing attempts and Ryan Fitzpatrick was averaging over 40 throws a game. Now, as the weather has gotten colder, the team is handing the ball off more to Fred Jackson, which is taking less pressure of Fitz. Another reason is that the Bills defense, which after a horrible start to the year where they gave up 30  points or more in 5 straight games, has finally gelled. Over the last month, the defense has only given up an average of 16.5 points per game. This is mainly due to getting sacks from their outside linebackers, Chris Kelsay and Arthur Moats, and the emergence of Kyle Williams, who is their best defensive player. Also, the secondary has finally been able to get interceptions.

2. My friend is a Bills fan from NYC. He wanted to ask you if you think Ryan Fitzpatrick is the future QB long term or should the Bills look at Luck, Mallett, or Locker as the franchise quarterback? Any other major needs in the draft?

For the entire year, I’ve been preaching that I could live with Fitzpatrick being the QB in 2011. Beyond that? I wasn’t so sure…until after this week against Miami. I think the Bills have a nice thing going with Fitz and have bigger, pressing issues on the defensive side of the ball (Mainly, the linebackers and defensive ends). Frankly, if the Bills decided to use all their draft picks on defensive players, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. As for drafting a top tier QB? I’d be cool with it, as the player can learn behind Fitzpatrick for a year or two, but it wouldn’t be my first choice.

3. In a 38-30 loss in Week 3 to the Pats, the Bills had 202 total yards in the 1st half? Do you see the running game of Fred Jackson and C.J Spiller having a repeat performance and keeping Tom Brady off the field?

The Bills have to keep Brady off the field. Jackson has had New England’s number over the years, as he had over 130 yards rushing in the 2008 season finale in Buffalo. Last year, Jackson had over 130 yards in total offense against the Pats on opening night. The Bills have been running the ball better as of late, and I think the worst thing the Bills can do is get into a shootout with Brady. So, yes, running the football is going to be key for the Bills.

4. Who has been the most surprising player on the offensive side for Buffalo? How about the defense?

Offensively…it has been a toss up between Fitzpatrick and Stevie Johnson. Johnson, has cooled off as of late, but for being a former 7th round choice, the Bills have gotten a ton out of him. However, I’m going with Fitzpatrick. No one, and I mean NO ONE, saw this guy coming in the training camp. Hell, people were calling for Brian Brohm to start over Fitzpatrick. The main reason being is that the Harvard product started a handful of games last year and really only played well in about 6 quarters. I remember against the Jets in Toronto last year, he passed for less than a 100 yards. I assure you, at this time last year, you’d have a better bet in saying that he would not get 20 touchdowns for his career, let alone 20 plus for this season. Defensively…I have to say the rookie, Arthur Moats: The Favre killer…AKA: “Don’t cross the Moats.”  Moats has only 3.5 sacks on the season, but has come on strong over the last three weeks, as he’s an outside linebacker who takes advantage of his lack of size, by getting underneath offensive tackles and having a high motor.

5. I remember in past years when Aaron Schobel would get after Brady in the pocket numerous times. Is Kyle Williams the next Aaron Schobel or in Miami’s case Jason Taylor that can make Brady’s afternoon difficult?

I know this may come as a bold statement, but Kyle Williams is playing better than Aaron Schobel ever did. The guy is a beast, who looks more and more like a truck driver, who drives offensive guards and centers into the QB’s lap. If Williams had one more dynamic player on the front seven to play with, he’d be talked about more as a top 5 defensive tackle.

6. Buffalo is one of the few teams this year to force New England into a turnover this year. Will Jairus Byrd/Leodis McKelvin force a turnover this Sunday? Does the health of Terrence McGee change the impact the Bills’ secondary can have in this game?

Yikes…don’t get me wrong, I like our corners at times, but over the years, Brady has sliced and diced our defensive backs. I honestly don’t think the Bills secondary can slow down Brady. He is just too damn good. Also, look for your young tight ends to have a big game, as our linebackers can’t cover d#ck.

7. How would you grade Buffalo’s season thus far?

I’d give it a C+ so far. I’ve been very happy with what Chan Gailey has done with a bunch of nobodies. He’s taken guys like Fitzpatrick, Johnson, Roscoe Parrish (Before he got hurt) and David Nelson, and turned them into productive players. As I’ve said since the preseason, this season should be judged on progress, not wins or losses. Everyone knew that this would be a rebuilding year for the Bills, so you just want to see the team get better, and they have as the season has progressed. As for the low marks, having a 4-10 record still hurts.

8. Will New England, ultimately be representing the AFC in Dallas in your opinion?

Yes, New England will be playing in Dallas. They are just too good, especially at home and the way Brady is playing.

9. Give me a prediction. Do the Bills snap their losing streak to the Patriots this week?

I’m going to the game on Sunday and it would make my Christmas if we could just beat you guys once! Over the last 5 games, the Bills have gotten closer, as the team has lost by 10, 13, 1, 6 and 8 points. Hey, that’s a lot better than the time we lost by like 50 points on Sunday night in 2007. However, at this point, I’m a beaten man when it comes to playing you guys. I have no confidence, as the Patriots remind me of that bully from The Christmas Story, who will always strike fear into you, no matter if the bully is crybaby or pu$$y. Maybe we’ll have our Ralphy moment one day. However, I think the Pats offense is just clicking at an all-time high and the Bills can’t match that. Maybe next year…

Ricky Keeler

About Ricky Keeler

I am a senior at St. John's University, where I am majoring in sports management. I have been writing game previews here at Foxboro Blog for each of the last four seasons. Plus, you can catch my Yankees' coverage over at YanksGoYard.com.

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