There is no bite to Stevie Johnson's bark. The loud-mouth Bills wide receiver is all about hype.
"I don't think they got nobody that can stop me," Johnson told the media this week.
Now that Johnson has said no one on the Patriots defense can stop him, the question heading into Sunday's game undoubtedly is can New England do just that?
If recent performances are any indication, the Patriots don't have much to worry about. In seven career games against the Patriots, Johnson has only 29 receptions for 382 yards and three touchdowns and the Bills have only beaten the Patriots twice in their last 24 games. That's two wins in 12 seasons.
If anything, Johnson's comments on Monday are likely no more than playful trash talking meant to develop hype around Sunday's game. After all, Johnson has never actually done considerable damage to the New England secondary.
Furthermore, the Patriots' backfield and defense on a whole played well enough during the preseason to reaffirm their capability to be one of the league's best defenses.
Johnson has not done anything special this preseason to suggest that he will cause problems for New England. With just four receptions for 28 yards and no touchdowns this summer, it begs the question, will Johnson give the Patriots any problems at all?
Johnson will most likely be covered by Aqib Talib for much of Sunday's game, a cornerback that he has never faced before. Perhaps when Johnson made his comments he showed no knowledge or awareness of the caliber player that Talib brings to the Patriots secondary. His arrival in New England has made the other defensive backs for the Patriots better. He also had five interceptions last year when he's usually covering an opponent's number one receiver.
Johnson's confusion would be understandable considering he also made the mistake of admitting he thought Patrick Chung was still on the team. Although he spoke very highly of Chung and the relationship he has with him, Chung is, of course, now a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Ultimately, don't expect Johnson to cause the Patriots secondary too much stress on Sunday. Though he is the top receiver for the Bills, he is far from being considered one of the league's premier receivers.
After the game, the Patriots will prove Johnson's words to be harmless chatter.
Patrick Coyne will be entering his sophomore year at Boston College as a staff writer for the school newspaper. He has been following the Patriots his entire life and has extensive knowledge of the team.
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Johnson's Bark is all Hype!
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