When the Buffalo Bills host the New England Patriots at Ralph Wilson Stadium this Sunday, the high-flying Patriots will be without one of their most vital offensive weapons. Second-year tight end Aaron Hernandez sustained an MCL sprain in last week's win over San Diego, and will miss a week or two - if not longer.
"It will hurt," said Greg Knopping of PatsPulpit.com of Hernandez being out of the lineup. "Hernandez is the do-it-all player for the Patriots' offense. He can line up at tight end, receiver, halfback or fullback, and is simply a matchup nightmare for defenses. Athletically, he's probably the most explosive player the Patriots have on that side of the ball. He was also developing into one of Tom Brady's favorite targets."
For the better part of the past two years, New England's offense has been built around using two tight ends - Hernandez and draft classmate Rob Gronkowski. Having Hernandez out of the lineup, however, could change the way the Pats play offense.
"I would expect a little bit more three wide receiver sets and a little bit less of the two and three tight end sets that the Patriots were having fun with over the course of the first two weeks of the season," said Knopping.