Behind Enemy Lines: Buffalo Bills

Tyler Diedrich, the sports assignment editor for The Bona Venture and a contributing columnist for buffalobills.com answers a half dozen burning questions about the Bills, from the changes at QB to what strengths the Bills have to use in a possible upset

What are the Bills doing to deal with their offensive line issues from a year ago?

Tyler Diedrich: Despite much criticism of their offensive line play, the Bills haven't made many changes and will stick with the same lineup they had the first two weeks. Only one current starter, right tackle Cornell Green, is new to the team the team this year. Believing most of the problems were due to injuries last season, it looks like the coaches are hoping the line stays healthy this year in order to develop it more for the long run.

Is Marshawn Lynch in the Bills current and / or future plans?

Diedrich: The Bills don't appear to be in any hurry to trade Lynch. Coach Chan Gailey said he is open to anything that will help the team improve, but has repeatedly denied trade rumors and loves the potential three-headed monster of Lynch, Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller in the backfield.

What is the strength of this year's Bills team?

Diedrich: The second-ranked pass defense in the league last year remains the Bills' strongpoint. Led by safety Jairus Byrd, who tied for the league lead with nine interceptions last year, the secondary kept the Bills hanging around against Miami in week one by forcing Chad Henne to throw underneath, but regressed slightly against one of the league's best offenses in Green Bay last week.


If the Patriots were to exploit any one area of the Bills where would that be, and how should they do it?

Diedrich: New England's front seven against Buffalo's offensive line could be the key here. Vince Wilfork could have a field day plugging up the middle and drawing attention from Buffalo's already suspect offensive line, freeing up room for blitzers to attack Lynch, Jackson and Spiller. The insertion of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick opens the Bills' offense a bit more and could lead to more shots down the field -- if he has time to throw, that is.


Changing quarterbacks mid season seems like a desperation move. Trent Edwards has had good games against the Patriots before. What does Fitzpatrick offer the Bills that they can't get from Edwards?

Diedrich: Fitzpatrick is not afraid to throw the ball in to tight spots and give receivers like Lee Evans the chance to make a big play, unlike Edwards, otherwise known as "Captain Checkdown." Fitzpatrick also doesn't shy away from freelancing a bit and changing plays at the line. He did just that on a 98-yard touchdown pass to Terrell Owens last year in Jacksonville.

If you were to pick one matchup to watch in this week's game, what would it be and why?

Diedrich: The most even and interesting matchup to watch may be the Bills' secondary against the Patriots' receivers. Even though the Bills haven't beaten the Patriots since 2003, they have kept the high-powered New England passing attack in relative check the last four meetings. Randy Moss, Wes Welker and company are still a big test for Buffalo's secondary if it wants to prove it truly is among the best in the league.

Prediction and why?

Diedrich: Patriots win 27-10. Ryan Fitzpatrick will challenge the Patriots defense early, but New England will pull away by relentlessly pressuring him and attacking the Bills' ground game. Expect Tom Brady and the Patriots' offense to take a more methodical, yet effective, offensive approach against Buffalo's strong pass defense rather than trying to light up the scoreboard.

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[Editor's Note: Special thanks to Tyler for joining us for this edition of Behind Enemy Lines with such short notice. Be sure to let him know what you think about his take on the game.]

Tyler Diedrich is the sports assignment editor for The Bona Venture and a contributing columnist for buffalobills.com and can be reached for comment at diedrits@bonaventure.edu