3 Key Bills/Patriots Matchups

Sammy Watkins didn't fare well against Darrelle Revis when the Bills and Patriots first played. In Week 17, Watkins will have a chance at redemption and an opportunity to go over 1,000 yards receiving on the season.

The Buffalo Bills can finish with a winning record for the first time since 2004 on Sunday. All that’s standing in their way is the New England Patriots. The only problem for the Bills is that they haven’t had much success against the Patriots. Buffalo is 0-12 all-time at Gillette Stadium and have lost 26 of their last 28 games with New England. On Sunday, it’s believed that the Patriots will play some of their starters for only one half so the Bills will certainly have a chance to win. Here are some matchups the Bills need to win on Sunday.

Matchup of the Week: Sammy Watkins vs. Darrelle Revis

The first matchup between Watkins and Revis was won by the veteran cornerback. Watkins was held to two receptions for 27 yards in the 37-22 loss. There was evidence of plays where Watkins found himself open, but Kyle Orton was unable to find him on said plays. In Week 17, Watkins will have a chance for early redemption. There’s no telling how long Revis will play against the Bills, but it’d be nice to see him log a few receptions against one of the best cornerbacks in the league.

In a meaningless game, it’d be nice to see Watkins get targeted early and often. The wide receiver is 75 yards away from 1,000 yards in his rookie season. Hopefully the rookie accomplishes this feat on Sunday.

Patriots Running Backs vs. Bills Front Seven

Marcell Dareus is out for Sunday’s game against the Patriots. That’s not good news for Buffalo’s run defense. Last week, Dareus played a part in holding Latavius Murray to five yards rushing on six carries. After he left, the Raiders rushed for 135 yards on 30 carries. Buffalo’s front four will have to win their battles up front to help their linebackers on Sunday.

For the Patriots, it almost doesn’t matter who they plug in at running back against the Bills. It seems like every year some running back goes off for the Patriots against Buffalo. Last year, it was LeGarrette Blount at the end of the season. That’s a possibility on Sunday, but Blount is questionable with a shoulder injury. Shane Vereen is also listed as questionable for the Patriots with an ankle injury and Jonas Gray is out on Sunday with an ankle injury of his own.

There’s no telling what New England will do with their banged up running backs on Sunday. Guys like James Develin, technically a fullback, or Brandon Bolden could see extended time. Regardless of who plays, Buffalo must contain New England’s running backs to win.

C.J. Spiller vs. Patriots Front Seven

No running back has more to gain on Sunday than Spiller. The running back can, and most likely will, void the final year of his rookie contract at the end of the season. The final year of Spiller’s deal would pay him $2.2 million, but he’s more likely to get a better deal on the free agent market. Finishing the season on a positive note is good for Spiller going forward. No one is foolish enough to believe that one good performance will make him more money in free agency, but by showing off his skillset, he can drum up more interest in free agency.

Money shouldn’t be Spiller’s primary concern in free agency after two down seasons with the Bills. It’s important for him to find a team that runs an offense that suits his skills and sign a short-term deal with that team. In doing so, he can rebuild his value. That said, Sunday is most likely Spiller’s last game with the Bills and a big performance against the Patriots can go a long way in garnering interest in free agency.



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