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A look at three matchups that favor the Buffalo Bills against the New England Patriots.

Three matchups that favor the Bills heading into Week 2.

Rex Ryan is looking for his fifth win against Bill Belichick and New England Patriots on Sunday. The Buffalo Bills head coach doesn’t own a winning record against the Patriots (4-9), but he may be fielding the most talented roster he’s ever coached. In addition to the talent on the Bills roster, Ryan, Greg Roman and Dennis Thurman will come up with a strong game plan for Sunday’s AFC East battle. In drawing up their game plan, the Bills will look for weaknesses that they can exploit. Here are three of the biggest matchups that favor the Bills against the Patriots.

New England’s offensive line vs. the Bills defensive line

Minus Sebastian Vollmer, New England’s offensive line struggled in Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Nate Solder, Josh Kline, David Andrews, and Tre' Jackson all had their own unique issues. Solder struggled with pass blocking and had two penalties called against him on Thursday. Kline, the left guard, struggled in terms of run blocking and Andrews struggled both as a run blocker and pass blocker while allowing a quarterback hit and hurry.

The worst player among New England’s line was Jackson. The right guard was especially bad in run blocking but also struggled as a run blocker. He allowed one quarterback hit and three hurries in 35 snaps.

On Sunday, this group unit will face off against Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, Jerry Hughes and Marcell Dareus who will be making his season debut. Kyle Williams and Dareus may thrive the most in this battle and they could play a large role in stopping the Patriots run game, making New England one-dimensional. While you don’t necessarily want Tom Brady to throw a lot, he’s easier to stop when you know a pass is coming. In regards to pass rushing, Hughes’ matchup against Solder is one to watch.

Sammy Watkins vs. Malcolm Butler

Watkins played against a legitimate No. 1 cornerback in Vontae Davis in Week 1. On Sunday, he won’t have to worry about playing against a lockdown cornerback. Malcolm Butler and Tarell Brown are not on the same level as Davis and that will benefit the second year receiver from Clemson.

Last week, Butler struggled mightily against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was targeted by Ben Roethlisberger 11 times and allowed 10 receptions that went for 151 yards and a touchdown. Butler didn’t record any passes defensed during the game and was picked on quite a bit. To be fair to Butler, he had to cover Antonio Brown, one of the best receivers in the NFL. Watkins isn’t quite on Brown’s level yet, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Bills try to utilize Watkins the way the Steelers utilized Brown on Butler.

Tarell Brown is another favorable matchup for Watkins. Brown fared better than Butler against the Steelers allowing two receptions for 28 yards on five targets, but his lack of targets was likely due to the success the Steelers were having on Butler.

It’s a pretty safe bet that Watkins won’t be used as a decoy for the second consecutive Sunday and that he’ll be heavily involved in the offense if he’s lined up against Butler.

LeSean McCoy/Karlos Williams vs. Patriots run defense

There’s no doubt that Greg Roman watched DeAngelo Williams gash New England’s run defense on Thursday. The veteran running back is no longer in the prime of his career, yet he averaged 6.0 yards per carry against New England by rushing for 127 yards on 21 carries.

On Sunday, Roman will likely lean on Buffalo’s 1-2 punch of McCoy and Karlos Williams to see if they can find similar success. From a talent perspective, there’s no doubt that backs could have the same type of success against the Patriots.

That said, the duo will only be as good as the blockers in front of them. Richie Incognito was the only offensive lineman who really thrived in Week 1 against the Colts. If that’s the case this week, McCoy and Williams may not be as successful as DeAngelo Williams. There’s no doubt that Roman and the offensive coaching staff are working hard this week to make sure that Cordy Glenn, John Miller and Seantrel Henderson clean up their mistakes from Week 1. If they do, McCoy and Williams could be off and running early and often against New England.  

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