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Can Wannstedt gin up Bills D enough to slow Patriots?


By Tim Graham

When New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels spoke with reporters Monday, he mentioned the Buffalo Bills aren't very creative on defense.

"I just think overall they don't do too many different things," McDaniels said. "They just continue to get better at the things that they do, and I think that's something that over the long course of a season can really pay a lot of dividends."

But a couple days later, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said he has noticed some recent wrinkles to Dave Wannstedt's defense.

The Bills certainly could benefit from springing some surprises Sunday in Gillette Stadium, a place they've never won.

The Bills rank 31st in total defense, 31st in rushing defense and 24th in pass defense. The Patriots are first in total offense, fourth in rushing offense and fifth in passing offense.

"They've jumped into a couple different fronts," Belichick said. "They've mixed their coverages a little bit differently. I'm not saying it's revolutionized the game of football, but I'm saying relative to what they were doing that we had seen, playing maybe a little more base, maybe a little more nickel.

"I don't know if that's how they'll play us or not. Again, it's really hard to say. Just because they’ve done something different against another team, we might get a lot more of it, or we might not get any of it. I don't know. But just watching it on film before we played them the first time and watching them on film this time before we play them, I'd say more base defense, more nickel, some variations in fronts, a little more pressure."

When they met in Week Four at Ralph Wilson Stadium, the Bills became only the second team in NFL history to allow two 100-yard rushers, two 100-yard receivers and a 300-yard passer.

(Photo: James P. McCoy/Buffalo News)

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |