Friday, November 9, 2012

Bills vs. Patriots: Who can give up fewest big plays?


The Buffalo Bills' and New England Patriots' defenses have one major trait in common: a knack for giving up the home run.

No team has given up more passing plays of 20 yards or more than the Patriots, who have surrendered 42 completions of that kind. Buffalo is on the other end of the spectrum, having given up more rushing plays of 20 yards or more (13) than any other defense in the league.

"The times we give up big plays, we are not on the same page and our focus level is not where it needs to be," Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said Wednesday, via "That’s one of the areas we need to get better and I think going forward, we’re going to have to get better in that area. If we don’t, we’re going to continue to have problems." (Photo: Chris Seward, Flickr)

Wilfork, however, is probably the last player on the team who should apologize. While New England's pass defense is abysmal, its run defense is basically as good as it gets. New England's defense joins the Houston Texans' as the only groups to have given up just one rushing playoff of 20 yards or more and no runs 40 yards or longer.

New England hopes to keep its stats that way, which will be a tough task against home-run tailbacks C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson.

"Buffalo has a great ground attack and their offense is very explosive," Wilfork said.

As for the Bills' defense, not much about it scares anyone, which is the reason no one is giving Buffalo a chance against one of the league's best offenses when the teams square off Sunday. The Bills are focusing on tackling this time around, something that has been severely lacking.

"We gave up over 100 yards after contact last game on missed tackles and balancing off the tackles, whether it was run or pass," Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams said, via the team's media site. "We obviously have to tackle better. That is how you get these guys out on third down.

"They are very efficient on getting it in third-and-four or less and that’s how they are such a high ranked on third down. We have to better on first down and we have to tackle well."

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