Sure enough Brady will be facing a defense somewhat similar to those this weekend, as the coach for those teams - Dave Wannstedt - is the defensive coordinator for the Bills.
Greg A. Bedard, Boston.com
Wannstedt has tinkered a bit with his 4-3 scheme, but it essentially has remained the same and is unique to the NFL. He puts a lot of pressure on his line, middle linebacker, and cornerbacks, and those players must be supremely talented for it to work.
Wannstedt seldom likes to blitz, though he is doing that more this time around with linebacker rushes. The cornerbacks are asked to play press coverage a majority of the time, with safety help over the top. And the tackles have to take up blockers to keep the linemen off the linebackers, who are asked to clean up against the run.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has had mixed results against Wannstedt in his career, though considering how much the game has changed, it’s almost impossible to compare statistics from eight years ago with today.
Brady was 5-3 against Wannstedt’s Dolphins. He completed 130 of 231 passes (56.3 percent) for 1,348 yards (5.8 yards per attempt) with 11 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. His quarterback rating was 74.7. Brady has completed more than 62 percent of his passes only once against a Wannstedt defense, and has never thrown for more than 283 yards.
The Dolphins weren't world beaters under Wannstedt, but they weren't terrible either. I always remember being kind of afraid to play the Dolphins in Miami because of how Brady tended to struggle against them.
The Bills are 2-1 this year, after getting blown out by the Jets in Week 1 they've proceeded to blow away their next two opponents. The Bills have some talent on defense that presents some unique challenges, something we've said about both the Ravens and Cardinals heading into the last two games.
"I think it allows you to do some different things coverage wise when you have a front four that can really get to the quarterback," Brady said earlier today. "You don’t have to worry about too many blitzes or too many funky looks. It’s just a matter of, ‘Alright guys, you get the quarterback. The rest of the guys, you handle the passing game.’ And that’s about what it is. When you have guys as talented as they do, that’s probably a good scheme to have to allow those guys to rush and be free and to go make a bunch of plays and really try to force the quarterback into throwing the ball quickly and into really tight coverage. And you see them come up with a lot of balls that are in the air around the intended receiver. They intercept the ball and they have some real playmakers on defense."
As Brady says here, and Bedard points out above, we can expect the Bills to rush the passer with their strong front four and play press coverage on the Patriots receivers. Often times, this strategy has been the achilles heel for the Patriots offense. Call it the "Giants strategy". We've obviously seen New York do this in their last three victories over the Patriots, Pittsburgh did this in their regular season win last year and the Jets obviously try this all of the time.
The question of course is, do the Bills have the talent to pull it off against the Patriots. Wannstedt's track record against Brady is pretty good, but that was a completely different offense and a completely different defense.
The Bills have been showing lately that they were worthy of the preseason hype, and some Patriots fans might overlook them but, make no mistake, this could be a challenging game.