Patriots Need A New Strategy Now

The Patriot swill need to find a new strategy on third down without Kevin Faulk. Does that mean more carries for Fred Taylor (pictured) or will others step up to the plate?

Following an ugly loss to the Jets this past weekend, it's been another strange week in New England, beginning primarily with the news that running back Kevin Faulk is out for the season with a torn ACL. He was placed on injured reserve Wednesday.

Faulk is on the back nine in terms of years left in the NFL, but he's still a valuable member of New England's offense, particularly in the passing game where he serves as an elusive weapon out of the backfield.

The news of Faulk's injury, which occurred when he got pushed out of bounds Sunday in New York, is especially disheartening since the Patriots just dealt Laurence Maroney to the Denver Broncos. Whether Maroney would have had a chance to earn more playing time in Faulk's absence is debatable, but what we do know is we'll never have a chance to find out.

At the risk of becoming one-dimensional, the Patriots might need a new game plan moving forward. The good news is they'll get to sort out this mess Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, who pose little threat traveling to New England this weekend.

Buffalo has lost 13 consecutive against the Patriots and has not won in Foxboro since 2000. With that said, the Patriots are in no position to look past anyone considering how poorly their defense has played and how overmatched they looked last week in the second half of their loss to the Jets.

Other than the fact Tom Brady is 15-1 lifetime against Buffalo, the best possible news for the Patriots this week is they get to face the Bills without defensive end Aaron Schobel, who retired during the offseason after a short, yet effective, career that included many monster games against New England. Still, head coach Bill Belichick is wary of the challenges the Bills' defense presents, even if their offense is somewhat trigger shy.

"(Schobel) has been a great player for them, but they look pretty good on defense right now," Belichick said. "Every year you look at every team and there's guys on their team that aren't there and there are guys on our team that aren't there. That's just part of the game, but I look at the players that are there and it's a good defense. They're big. They're physical. They play hard. They're tough to move the ball against. That's what I see."

The Patriots will also see a new quarterback at the helm. Buffalo will go with Ryan Fitzpatrick over Trent Edwards. While it's hard to say whether this will make a difference, it's worth noting how poorly Edwards played in the first two games -- both losses -- that Fitzpatrick played fairly well against the Patriots last year, throwing for 178 yards and a touchdown.

Regardless of who takes snaps for Buffalo, it won't be easy trying to dethrone the Patriots at Gillette. They've lost just once at home in their last 10 games, including a perfect 8-0 mark in the regular season in 2009 and a season-opening win over Buffalo this year. As for the starting quarterback for the home team, he's hoping the fans get involved early -- especially after Brady made it a point to comment on their overall lack of fire recently at Gillette.

"Hopefully we give them a reason to cheer," Brady said. "Hopefully we get some touchdowns early."

SERIES HISTORY: 100th meeting. Patriots lead regular-season series, 58-40-1. The Patriots having won 13 in a row against Buffalo dating back to 2003. The Bills haven't beaten New England since their season opener in '03, which was a lopsided 31-0 victory. Likewise, they haven't won in Foxboro since 2000 and have never won a game at Gillette Stadium.

this report courtesy of The Sports Xchange.

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