The NFL starts things off with a bang in the AFC East when EJ Manuel and the Buffalo Bills take on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots from Buffalo, New York in Week 1.
Buffalo is looking to stay competitive with a rookie quarterback while the Patriots are trying to find answers on the offensive side of the ball after losing both Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez.
Here are a few things fans need to know about the matchup with major divisional implications.
Where: Ralph Wilson Stadium, Buffalo, New York
When: September 8, 2013, 1:00 PM ET
Watch: CBS Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket, Game Rewind
Patriots Player to Watch: Danny Amendola
Danny Amendola is the player to watch for the Patriots as the man tasked with replacing Wes Welker’s production. Amedola could easily develop into Brady’s favorite target, but it’s going to take some time for the chemistry to develop.
It will also be interesting to see just how much the Patriots use Amendola compared to the running game. It will speak volumes about the strategy for the rest of the season.
Bills Player to Watch: EJ Manuel
This is insanely obvious, but Manuel is the main player to watch in the AFC East showdown after being the first quarterback taken in the 2013 NFL draft.
Manuel was electric in the preseason completing almost 80 percent of his passes before going down with an injury. It was to the point where the Bills were considering starting an undrafted rookie quarterback in Jeff Tuel before it was recently announced Manuel was healthy enough to go.
Matchup to Watch: C.J. Spiller vs. Patriots Run Defense
Manuel may be the player to watch, but how the Patriots handle elite running back C.J. Spiller may dictate the outcome of the game. New England had a horrendous run defense last year, giving up 3.9 yards per carry.
On the other hand, Spiller is one of the best backs in the NFL and is set to see a huge amount of action with Manuel still recovering from an injury and needing time to get back into the swing of things.
The Bills will be more competitive in this one than most want to give them credit for, but at the end of the day this one goes to Tom Brady. He’ll pick on a defense still searching for answers and he is backed by a quality running game.
Amendola will have a huge game in his debut, and Brady and the Patriots will start the season with a leg up in the division.
Patriots 35, Bills 28.