1. Get pressure with four. New England quarterback Tom Brady, right, is a master at beating the blitz. Last season, he was blitzed 218 times, according to advanced statistics compiled by Pro Football Focus. He attempted 201 passes in those situations, completing 127 of them (63.2 percent). Those completions went for 1,914 yards, an average of 9.5 per attempt, with 15 touchdowns and just two interceptions. If the Bills are going to get pressure on Brady, they have to do it with their defensive front four. That's a prime reason why they spent such big money on the defensive line this offseason. One of the biggest advantages to getting a solid rush is it also might force the Patriots to keep tight end Rob Gronkowski in more to block. Gronk stayed in to block on 16 of 49 snaps last week against Baltimore. The Bills would love for that number to increase today.
2. Help out the young corners This is the biggest test the Buffalo secondary will face all season. The Bills need safeties Jairus Byrd and George Wilson to support the young cornerbacks, and the defensive linemen can reduce pressure by getting their hands in passing lanes and knocking down some balls. Following tight end Aaron Hernandez's ankle injury, the Patriots have gone primarily to a three-receiver offense, running that formation on 60 of 82 snaps against the Ravens in Week Three. That means it will be a busy day for slot cornerback Justin Rogers and linebacker Bryan Scott, both of whom play in the Bills' nickel package. They'll need to be strong today.
3. Give them a Choice. The Bills attacked the Patriots last season by throwing the ball. In their first meeting, Buffalo threw at a 2-to-1 ratio. Spreading out the Pats' defense and throwing at struggling defensive backs Kyle Arrington and Sterling Moore is a fine plan, one the Bills will utilize. But with the way the Bills' offensive line is run-blocking, coach Chan Gailey has to make a determined effort to run the ball. Fred Jackson looks more likely to play than C.J. Spiller, but if neither can make an impact the Bills should try and establish the ground game with Tashard Choice. It will keep Brady off the field and if the Pats' safeties start creeping up, will open things up for a deep shot.
4. Win the rookie battle. Left tackle Cordy Glenn has been a rock for the Bills so far. He's given up just three quarterback hurries in three games, according to PFF, and faces fellow first-round pick Chandler Jones of Syracuse. Jones has been similarly solid for New England, with one sack and nine quarterback hurries through three games. That's made him the Patriots' best pass-rush threat. If Glenn can neutralize Jones, it will greatly improve QB Ryan Fitzpatrick's chances to make plays in the passing game.
5. Seize the momentum. The Patriots are a missed field goal and a barely made field goal away from being 3-0, but this is a rare opportunity for the Bills to put the Patriots in a hole. The last time Buffalo came into a game with a better record than New England was Nov. 3, 2002. The Bills were 5-3, New England 3-4. The Patriots won that game, 38-7, in Buffalo. A win today for the Bills would go a long way with a two-game West Coast trip looming.
Outlook: The last time the Patriots lost three in a row was in 2002. While the Bills seemingly match up reasonably well with them, picking against New England while Brady and Belichick are there is fool's gold. New England in a shootout. Prediction: Patriots 35, Bills 27