Note: This article was written by Bills 101 writer Richard Wade
The Buffalo Bills have had quite a season in 2013. Their final game this Sunday against the New England Patriots will be no different.
An already thin Bills team will have to battle some significant injuries during Sunday's game. The Bills will once again be without rookie starting quarterback EJ Manuel, who suffered a knee sprain in last week's win against the Miami Dolphins. Thad Lewis will start in his place. The Bills will also be without wide receiver Stevie Johnson (personal reasons) and safety Aaron Williams (ribs). Marquis Goodwin is also banged up with a knee injury. He is probable for Sunday's game.
The Bills have been an up and down team for much of this season. The defense has set a team record for sacks in a season with 56 sacks. The Bills have three players with at least 10 sacks (Jerry Hughes 10.0, Kyle Williams 10.5, Mario Williams 13.5), the first time since the 1995 season (Bryce Paup 17.5, Bruce Smith 10.5, Phil Hansen 10.0). The offense has been sporadic at best. The shoddy quarterback play has been inextricably linked to injuries by EJ Manuel. The Bills were expecting Manuel to have his share of bumps, but he has suffered three different knee injuries in his rookie season. The Bills may look to sign or draft another quarterback in the offseason.
The Bills will attempt to thwart the Patriots playoff position in this game. New England needs a win to secure the top seed in the AFC. They also need a Denver loss for this to happen. They haven't won a game in New England since the 2000 season.
The New England Patriots will be lead by future hall of fame quarterback Tom Brady. This season has seen Brady compile 4,221 yards passing and 24 touchdown passes, despite throwing to a less than heralded core of wide receivers. All-pro tight end Rob Gronkowski missed the start of the season recovering from back and forearm surgeries. He came back, and then tore his ACL, effectively ending his 2013 season. Another despised member of the Patriots happens to be their head coach Bill Belichick. His emotionless stares on the opposing sideline have irked Bills fans for years.
This game may seem inconsequential to many Bills fans, but a win against a division rival is always important. With a win on Sunday, the Bills will finish the 2013 season on a three game winning streak. The win will be a fitting end to a frustrating, and sometimes fruitful 2013 season.
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