On Sunday, the Buffalo Bills will try to keep their heads above water in the playoff race. The Bills have their hands full with a 9-2 Patriots team coming to town. These five players will have to play a big role in keeping their hopes alive against the Patriots.
RB Lesean McCoy
The Patriots are tied for last place in the NFL by giving up 4.9 yards per carry. McCoy has averaged 3.9 yards per carry this season, so this game has the potential to be a big one and get him that much closer to his season goal of getting to 10,000 rushing yards. He only needs 288 yards to get to that career milestone. He did sit out practice on Friday with a sore knee but is expected to play.
LB Matt Milano
It isn't a secret that Preston Brown and Lorenzo Alexander haven't been great in coverage this season. Matt Milano has been a bright spot for the Bills. He has the burden of matching up against Rob Gronkowski, who is a mismatch for just about any defender. The Pats’ shifty running backs, James White and Dion Lewis, will also be a big part of their passing offense from every spot on the field. Milano should've earned himself more playing time and he will need to be on the ball this week.
QB Tyrod Taylor
The Pats passing defense is second-to-last in the league giving up 270.4 passing yards per game and they are in the bottom half of the league by giving up 19 touchdowns through the air. Tyrod Taylor will have a chance to take advantage of a defense that has struggled, at least early in the season. If the run game can get established like it should, the passing game will open up and Rick Dennison's offense can be executed like it should.
DE Jerry Hughes
Coming into the year, Jerry Hughes was supposed to have a big year making the switch back to his pass rushing end position. So far he has only recorded three sacks. If we and the rest of the NFL knows one thing about Tom Brady, it’s that he doesn't like to get hit. Hughes and the rest of the front will need to create pressure or Brady will pick any defense apart.
S Micah Hyde
Hyde has been the anchor of the secondary and has kept the big plays to a minimum. Along with Milano, he will be matched up against Gronkowski a good portion of the day. Hyde also has the job of keeping the back end of the defense in tact against the Pats speedy guys like Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan. Hyde will have a lot on his plate to make sure they only bend, not break.