Patriots run 'D' faces challenge vs. Bills


Patriots run 'D' faces challenge vs. Bills

By A. Sherrod Blakely Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn FOXBORO It would be easy to dismiss the Buffalo Bills' early success as nothing more than an improved team getting a long overdue break from the football gods by having them open up against the putrid Kansas City Chiefs and the so-so Oakland Raiders.

But the Patriots, even with their dominance over the Bills in recent years (15 straight wins and counting), are in no position to take them for granted.

And while there are several facets of the game that will determine the outcome, it's hard to see anything being a bigger difference-maker than Buffalo's top-rated ground attack against a Patriots defensive line that was built in the offseason to control the line of scrimmage.

While New England has given up a ton of total yards (479 per game, actually) -- only one team (Miami Dolphins) have given up more yards per game than New England -- their defense against the run hasn't been too shabby with the Patriots being just one of 11 teams giving up less than 100 yards rushing per game.

New England's ability to stand pat against the Bills' attempts at stampeding them on Sunday, will go far in determining which of these two will remain among the undefeated.

"We have our hands full," said Patriots defensive tackle Vincent Wilfork. "It's going to be challenging for us once again. Every week so far, we've been challenged."

Buffalo's spread offense has shown the ability to hurt teams both on the ground and through the air.

Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, a former standout at Harvard, is the NFL's sixth-rated passer thus far this season.

He shares the NFL-lead of seven touchdown passes, with New England's Tom Brady and Detroit's Matthew Stafford.

On the ground, Fred Jackson is the league's top rusher with 229 yards. And his power rushing attack is complimented by C.J. Spiller whose speed and quickness make him a potential matchup problem for New England as well.

The Patriots have done a solid job of rotating their defensive lineman, a trend you'll see continue on Sunday at Buffalo.

"We have guys that can get it done," said Pats defensive end Shaun Ellis. "We just have to become more consistent throughout the year."

And that comes with more playing time, which is critical for a defensive unit that features a number of new faces -- Ellis included.

"You have to get a feel for each guy, and where they're going to be . . . it's all getting a feel for it," said Ellis, who spent the previous 11 seasons with the New York Jets. "I kind of put it in mind like, a jump-shooter goes out and shoots a whole bunch of jumpers all day long; just get that feel so that when he gets in games, it just comes naturally."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Patriots-Dolphins injury report: Cutler out for Dolphins


Patriots-Dolphins injury report: Cutler out for Dolphins

The injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Dolphins game:


C David Andrews (illness)
OT Marcus Cannon (ankle)
WR Chris Hogan (shoulder)

TE Martellus Bennett (shoulder/hamstring)

WR Danny Amendola (knee)
DT Malcom Brown (ankle)
S Patrick Chung (ankle)
CB Eric Rowe (groin)
WR Matthew Slater (hamstring)

QB Tom Brady (Achilles)
TE Rob Gronkowski (illness)


G Jermon Bushrod (foot)
DE William Hayes (back)
QB Jay Cutler (concussion)

T Laremy Tunsill (illness)
LB Stephone Anthony (quadriceps)
S Maurice Smith (illness)

RB Senorise Perry (knee)
S Michael Thomas (knee)
DT Ndamukong Suh (not injury related)

Tom Brady: Achilles injury 'nothing to worry about'


Tom Brady: Achilles injury 'nothing to worry about'

FOXBORO — Within 30 seconds of his Friday press conference beginning, Tom Brady was talking about biscuits. That should tell you how small a deal he considers the Achilles tendon issue that kept him out of Wednesday’s practice. 

Brady practiced for the second consecutive day Friday, after which he confirmed that he will be good to go Sunday against the Dolphins. 


“I feel great. Ready to go, so I’ll be excited for Sunday and it feels good to get a little extra treatment,” Brady said. “I’m feeling great this time of year. It will be a fun week. Nothing to worry about.”

After that, Brady spoke about the aforementioned Thanksgiving biscuits of which he posted pictures on Instagram. He said they were good. Rob Gronkowski said he wanted some and that there would be “problems” if Brady didn’t bring any in for him. Everyone got a real kick out of it. 

It’s hard to imagine Brady’s status for Sunday actually being up in the air. He has gone 134 consecutive regular-season games without missing time due to injury. His only absence in that span came in the form of last season’s four-game suspension for Deflategate.