Free NFL Pick: New England at Buffalo 12-26-2010

December 23, 2010

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New England Patriots Vs. Buffalo Bills

Sunday December 26th, 2010 1:00 PM EST

Line: New England -9

Overview:

The Buffalo Bills may be 4-10, but they are 4-2 in their last six game. The Bills have just experienced the soft part of their schedule, but their recent success is impressive nevertheless. They will play division rivals in their remaining two games. The teams have a combined total of 22 wins this year, so Buffalo could regress to their old ways in a hurry.

Their first opponent is the 12-2 New England Patriots. The Patriots had a recent scare against the Aaron Rodgersless Packers last week, but still continue their six game win streak heading into this game. They have made a habit of blowing out teams, but the loss to Cleveland is evidence that an upset here is not out of the question. Can the Bills continue their recent success with a huge win over the Patriots?

Keys to the Game:

  • Dan Connolly broke the record last week for longest kickoff return by an offensive lineman. While the Bills need not worry about Connolly being a return threat, Connolly’s return embodies everything that makes the Patriots successful. The Patriots obviously rely heavily on Tom Brady, but their greatest attribute is finding production in unlikely places. The Patriots don’t have an overly talented roster, so game changing plays from blue collar unknowns is key for Bill Belichick and Co.
  • Steve Johnson needs to step up his game in the absence of Lee Evans. While he did haul in a touchdown grab last week, he needs to have a monster game in order for the Bills to be effective throwing the ball. Guys like C.J. Spiller can be effective, but Johnson has been a game breaker throughout the season. The Bills have done well, despite his recent decline. A resurgence this week could be in Johnson’s immediate future.
  • Tom Brady looks like he is going to run away with the MVP race and he leads the league in Pro Bowl voting. In the last six games, Tom Brady has had four games with over 300 yards passing. All of them resulted in a double digit victory. The Bills don’t have a great secondary, so assuming Brady will have another big day seems like a likely scenario. By the way, Brady hasn’t thrown a pick since Week 6.

Key Matchup:

Ryan Fitzpatrick Vs. New England’s secondary

  • Fred Jackson struggled last week, but Ryan Fitzpatrick picked up the slack. While the Patriots always seem to find a way to look amazing on defense, they have one of the worst pass defenses in the entire NFL. Fitzpatrick will need to have a big game this week if the Bills are going to cover the spread. The Patriots are relentless on offense and could give Jackson problems. Capitalizing on a week pass defense is going to be key to keeping up with the onslaught of points the Patriots are likely to put up.

Wrap Up:

The Bills are miles ahead of where they were six weeks ago. They might not need a complete franchise makeover after all, which is a huge surprise given their terrible start. The Patriots are on a tear and tend to have huge games after a shaky performance. Whenever the Patriots can, they run up the score on their opponent. The wheels look like they might come off in Buffalo and I can’t help but think the Patriots are going to run away with this one.

Free NFL Pick: New England -9


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