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With Fitzpatrick Under Center, House of Horrors Awaits Bills in Foxborough

When you’re reeling and the ropes are the only thing keeping you up, the last thing you’d want to experience is an overhand right from the heavyweight champion.  It’s also like when a baseball team can’t hit and in the midst of lengthy losing skid, expecting the bats to come alive against Roy Halladay.

Today we’re all about to witness one of the greatest mismatches in all of sports when the Bills visit the New England Patriots for the first of two meetings this season.  Maybe this year, Bill Belichick will finally be able to pull off that cut-off hooded sweatshirt look, or at least retire the damn thing.  Sean John, Ralph Lauren these are trend setters.  But then again, when your team has won 13 straight and 18 of the last 19 meetings against your AFC East rival, who’s going to tell you how to dress?

Thirteen and counting.  Indeed it’s an unlucky number in Buffalo.  Facing the Bills has been extremely rewarding for the Patriots.  New England hasn’t lost to Buffalo since 2003, a 31-0 defeat on opening day.  Worse yet for Buffalo, their last win on the road against New England came in early November back in 2000 when the Bills were quarterbacked by a guy named Doug Flutie.  Ironically, Flutie is last quarterback to bring any pizzaz and excitement under center for the Bills in the last decade.

These two franchises have become stark opposites of each other.  The Patriots have become a franchise routinely in the upper echelon of the NFL, while the Bills have rapidly sunken to the depths of the NFL cellar.  Buffalo has gone back to the drawing board almost as many times as New England has made playoff appearances.  The Patriots have been on the cusp of a having a dynasty whereas the Bills have cornered the market on dysfunctional.  New Englad is North.  The Bills are South.  You get the idea.

The task at hand for the Bills today seems more daunting than ever.  Forgetting the fact that Buffalo has never won a game in Gillette Stadium, the offense reeks worse than the back of a garbage truck.  Buffalo ranks dead last in the NFL in points (17) and total yards (352).  They’re on a touchdown-a-game pace.  Trent Edwards lost his job after two disastrous games.   C.J. Spiller has been invisible.  Lee Evans can’t get the football. 

So now, off the bench and into the fire goes Ryan Fitzpatrick.  He’ll replace Edwards as the team’s starting quarterback for the second time in as many seasons, hoping to generate the slightest bit of a spark to prove that there are signs of the life for the offense.   Fitzpatrick faced the Patriots in the second meeting last year, throwing for 178 yards with a touchdown and an interception that resulted in a 17-10 home loss on Dec. 20.

While the Bills are in annual disarray, everything isn’t quite business as usual on the New England side.   After blowing out Cincinnati on opening day, the Patriots seemed primed for a 2-0 start.  Last Sunday, New England led 14-10 at halftime against the New York Jets but in the second half their lead and the game fell by the wayside.  New England committed three turnovers, were outgained 196-80 and outscored 18-0 in the second half.

Now, after an admittedly bad performance all around, New England returns home angry while looking to take out their frustrations of their Week 2 loss on Buffalo.  There seems to be no better bounce back opponent for the Patriots in this spot.  New England hasn’t started out a season 1-2 since 2001.

The last time the Bills were in Foxborough, they suffered a crushing blow on Monday night in the opener last season.  Buffalo led 24-14 in the closing minutes of the game, only to witness another unexplainable shocker.  A costly late fumble coupled with two touchdowns by Brady and the Patriots stunned the Bills, 25-24.

Prediction:  New England 30, Buffalo 13.   Last week’s game against Green Bay had disaster written all over it.  This week’s contest smells just the game.  Despite New England’s offense being one dimensional without a running game, Tom Brady is still at quarterback.  He still has Randy Moss and Wes Welker at his disposal.  Ryan Fitzpatrick will be a much needed and welcomed change, but how much of a difference maker will he be?   The Patriots are in a foul mood after the way they lost to the Jets.  They’ll be good and hungry, looking to take out all their frustrations on the Bills.

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