ESPN Pats-Bills prediction roundup

September, 24, 2010
9/24/10
11:48
AM ET
A roundup of how ESPN’s analysts see Sunday’s Patriots-Bills game (1 p.m. ET) playing out:

* ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Reiss: Patriots 30, Bills 13. The Patriots should clean up their act after last week’s loss to the Jets. The Bills are the type of team that most clubs looking to bounce back would want to see next on their schedule

* ESPNBoston.com’s Tedy Bruschi: I look at Buffalo as a perfect back-on-track team, which is exactly the medicine the Patriots need. A win over the Bills would give them a little momentum going on the road to Miami. I like the Patriots to win by three touchdowns. Even though I have Fred Jackson as a running back on my fantasy team, I think I'm going to bench him this week.

* Hank Goldberg: Hammerin' Hank doesn't think the Patriots will have much of a problem against the Bills. Check out his prediction below:



* Bill Simmons: Bills (+14.5) over PATRIOTS. Allow me multiple thoughts on this one ...

-- The worst thing about Tom Brady's stinker at the New Meadowlands last week: As things were getting worse and worse, CBS kept showing commercials for "Blue Bloods," the new cop show starring Tom Selleck and Bridget Moynahan ... and I swear, the guy in charge of CBS ads was a Jets fan getting a massive kick out of it. I think they had two "Blue Bloods" ads scheduled for that game and ended up showing 28. Brady would overthrow someone, we'd punt, they'd go to commercial, and then, "Coming Friday ... BLUE BLOODS!" Screw you, CBS guy in charge of the ads.

-- After I moved to California in 2002, I returned to Boston a year later wearing a nice cashmere jacket that led my buddy J-Bug to mockingly call me "Malibu Billy" all night. (In an unbelievable turn of events, I lost the jacket that same night after our friend Sully passed out while we were playing pool and we had to rush him out before he started throwing up on everyone.) After last Sunday's Jets loss, Bug angrily texted me, "Hey Malibu Billy -- send Brentwood Brady your old cashmere jacket with a note, 'You'll be needing this.' F***ing Gisele Ono turned him into a soccer star. I was hoping he had two more Super Bowls in him, but he's too busy wondering whether he should go with lizard or alligator belly for his new man purse. " Needless to say, Brady's hair is NOT going over well back in Boston. Especially when he's playing like his hair. If that makes sense.

-- Actual tweet from ESPN's Adam Schefter on Monday: "Bills HC Chan Gailey announced that he is looking for a spark and that Ryan Fitzpatrick will start at QB Sunday at the Patriots." When "looking for a spark" and "Ryan Fitzpatrick" are in the same sentence, you know your season's over. Then again, this Patriots defense shouldn't be favored by more than two touchdowns over anyone right now. They'd need 40 points to cover this spread.

-- Few realize how badly Kevin Faulk's season-ending ACL injury screws the 2010 Patriots. He wasn't just Brady's security blanket, a beloved captain and one of the best third-down backs in football; they don't have anyone to replace him. Actually, I'll go further -- they don't even REMOTELY have someone like him on the roster. It changes everything they do. Secretly gigantic injury. You watch. I see the Pats eschewing a running back altogether and going with more five-receiver sets (ironic because this is what I do in "Madden," and actually, I've always wondered why a team doesn't just do this for four quarters because it's effectively unstoppable if your receivers are good enough, as the '99 Rams proved), but that means more punishment for Brady (33 years old). Not good.

-- I hosted four days of "PTI" this week. (It was fun. Thanks for asking.) We had Ron Jaworski as Thursday's "Five Good Minutes" guest and asked him what to make of Mark Sanchez's solid performance against New England. Jaws responded that he watched the tape and was shocked that the Patriots stubbornly kept playing zone against Sanchez, saying that he completed 15 of 18 passes when they were in a zone ... followed by me fighting off the urge to say, "This never would have happened if Bill Belichick was still alive."

(By the way, I'm allowed to complain about my quarterback and coach. We're a year and two games past the five-year grace period. So screw off.)

* Countdown Daily: Watch Mark Schlereth and Bruschi make their predictions in this video (they both pick the Patriots).

* ESPN experts: All eight experts pick the Patriots to beat the Bills.

* Sunday Countdown: Mike Ditka, Keyshawn Johnson, Cris Carter and Tom Jackson all pick the Patriots to beat the Bills.

* Ken Moll, Scouts, Inc.: Patriots 28, Bills 17.

* Madden simulation: Patriots 42, Bills 13. Still fuming over their loss to the Jets, the Patriots decide to take out all their anger on the poor Bills, scoring 35 points in the second and third quarters alone for a 42-13 blowout. Tom Brady had an unbelievable fantasy day, throwing for 403 yards and five touchdowns, including three to Randy Moss.

* AccuScore simulation: Patriots 27.1, Bills 14.3 (on average). You can simulate the game yourself here (Insider).

* Make your Week 3 picks with our Pigskin Pick’Em contest.

* What's your prediction for Patriots-Bills? Leave it in the comments section of this blog post.

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