By Dan Zeigarnik, Patriots Daily Staff
Wow,what a difference a week makes!
Last week, the offense was unstoppable as a result of the new Tight Ends, a healthy Tom Brady, and a more confident Coach Bill O’Brien.
Last week, our young defense was ferocious and our anemic pass rush somehow confused a game Bengals offense.
Last week, the Jets were a walking caricature of everything that Patriots hate about the trash talking boasters who have yet to accomplish anything this side of a half-century.
Last week, the Jets coach’s profanity-laden, snack-eating personality was all but discredited as a coaching style.
This Patriot-centric world view came to a crashing halt soon after a spectacular Randy Moss one-handed catch and in the long-run I’m glad it happened. For far too long Patriot victories have come too easily, and it has made the fanbase complacent with success. If Patriot fans should ever reach the pinnacle of fandom that the Packers and Eagles enjoy, we need to have a rich history that includes both the good and the bad.
Now, the Patriots need to get back on their proverbial horse and take on the Bills:
1. Patriot Third Downs vs. Bills Defense
With Kevin Faulk out for the season and Laurence Maroney traded for a case of Michelob light to Denver, the Patriots seem awfully thin at running back. It will be interesting to see how the Patriots respond to such a drastic turn of events.
2. Patriots Second Half Adjustments vs. Bills Offense
It has been pointed out repeatedly, that the Patriots have been vastly outscored in second half of games. Now is this a result of Patriots being ahead at half and playing not-to-lose instead of to win, or is it because opposing teams are making adjustments that Patriots can keep up with?
3. Patriots Secondary vs. Bills Receivers
The confidence of the young secondary clearly took a hit after the Jets loss. It is an important part of maturing for players to be able to put things behind them, good and bad, and stay in the moment. If the corners can bounce back against an easier foe, it will bode will for their development.
4. Hernandez and Gronkowski vs. Bills Safeties
Patriot fans cannot get enough of these two exciting young tight ends. As one of the real bright spots for the Patriots, it would be really nice to see them continue on their hot streak.
5. Gostkowski vs. the Goalposts
Get it in through the damn uprights! Geez, you’re one of the best kickers in the league, and the Patriots need you to return back to your stellar self.