Bills DTs vs. Joe Thuney
Thuney struggled in pass protection in the first meeting in Buffalo three weeks ago. Look for the Pats' left guard to be highly motivated for an improved performance. The Pats drafted Thuney in the third round in 2016, and he has started every game the past two years. He had pass-protection struggles as a rookie. His performance has improved this season. He yielded a sack in Miami two weeks ago and one in Pittsburgh last week. That's four sacks in the last three games. Thuney had some power run blocks against the Bills. But he allowed one sack to Kyle Williams and one to Adolphus Washington.
Tyrod Taylor vs. Jordan Richards
The Pats used Richards as a spy on the Bills quarterback a bunch in the first meeting. He played 25 snaps in that game, his most in the past two months. Will Bill Belichick repeat the tactic or will Richards be an afterthought in the Pats' game plan? You never know. Taylor eluded Richards on three scrambles for 32 yards. But he didn't take enough advantage of the spy, passing for just 65 yards before leaving with a knee injury early in the fourth quarter. The Pats drafted Richards in the second round in 2015, a move that was widely questioned. Many projected Richards as a fifth- or sixth-rounder.
Rob Gronkowski vs. Bills D
Gronkowski played an all-world game against the Bills three weeks ago — up until his dirty hit on Tre'Davious White at the end of the game. Not only did the Pats' tight end have nine catches for 147 yards, he blocked like a beast for the New England running backs. The Bills varied their plan of attack. Sometimes Micah Hyde went one-on-one with Gronk. Sometimes it was bracket coverage with Preston Brown and a safety. Repeatedly, however, Tom Brady fit passes into tight windows to create big plays with Gronkowski. Gronk is aiming for his third straight 100-yard game vs. Buffalo.