Final thought: Bills and no-huddle

September, 8, 2013
9/08/13
5:00
AM ET
Providing one wrap-up thought or overlooked storyline prior to today's game:

The New England Patriots made a series of roster transactions on Saturday, and from an opponent's perspective, one may catch the eye: The Patriots waived defensive tackle A.J. Francis.

While Francis may have been inactive on Sunday even if he stayed on the roster, it's worth noting that the Patriots are thin along their defensive line.

Here's how their front line projects on Sunday:

DEFENSIVE END: Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich

DEFENSIVE TACKLE: Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly

RESERVES: Michael Buchanan (end), Jake Bequette (end), Joe Vellano (tackle)

Buchanan (seventh round) and Vellano (undrafted) are both rookies. Bequette, a third-round pick last season, has been slow to emerge. This will be just the fourth game of his career that he'll appear in.

The Bills are anticipated to use a heavy dose of no huddle, which could have two effects on the Patriots' defensive line:
  1. The faster pace will prevent the Patriots from substituting personnel on defense as regularly, which could wear down Kelly (6-foot-6, 310 pounds) and Wilfork (6-foot-2, listed at 325 pounds) over the course of a drive.
  2. Over the course of the game, the Patriots may need to rotate personnel in order to keep their front line fresh against the no-huddle look.

If the Patriots substitute Vellano, their only backup interior option, it could give the Bills an advantage in the running game. He's listed at 6-foot-2, 300 pounds, but that may be generous. Against left guard Colin Brown (6-foot-7, 326 pounds) and right guard Kraig Urbik (6-foot-5, 324 pounds), the Bills may win that matchup battle.

Mike Rodak

ESPN Buffalo Bills reporter

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