Editor’s Note: AJ Kaufman’s weekly MNF coverage on MSF is sponsored by Sadler’s Smokehouse, a producer of premium pit smoked meats that are best described by Sadler’s slogan: Legendary since 1948.
Sadler’s premium meats are perfect for tailgating on Saturday, for grilling out at home on Sunday, or for when you are hosting a group of friends, or even just the family, on Monday night.
With a variety of delicious choices (beef, pork, ribs, turkey, brisket, and more) and availability at grocery stores throughout the U.S., Sadler’s meats are the tasty, convenient choice when you want to watch the big game and eat well while you’re doing it.
Learn more about Sadler’s great smokehouse products: Sadler’s Smokehouse Wesbite
- Check out Sadler’s MNF Recipe of the Week: Sadler’s Smokehouse Brisket Nachos
Monday Night Football Week 1 Preview
Buffalo Bills (0-0) at New England Patriots (0-0)
Before we dive into analyzing the details of the first Monday Night Football game of 2009, here are the particulars to get you ready for kickoff:
- Bills-Patriots Date: Monday, September 14th
- Bills-Patriots TV & Kickoff Time: 7:00 ET on ESPN
- Bills-Patriots Location: Gillette Stadium in Foxboro
- Bills-Patriots Announcers: Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, and Jon Gruden
- Bills-Patriots Point Spread: NE -10.5
- Bills-Patriots Over-Under: 47.5
- StubHub: Patriots-Bills MNF tickets as low as $95
- StubHub: all 2009 New England Patriots tickets
- StubHub: all 2009 Buffalo Bills tickets
- StubHub: all 2009 NFL tickets
Trent Edwards and the Bills offense is the big question mark on the shores of Lake Ontario. Last year, people said that Edwards didn’t have the right personnel around him, but now that they’ve added Terell Owens, does Edwards still have any excuses?
Therefore, Buffalo’s potential season-long question might be—along with the usual questions of T.O. co-existing with his quarterback—will Edwards prosper even with Owens when he still has very little time to throw?
And will Owens “accept” a team that can’t produce consistently on offense?
Oh, and mixed into all this uncertaintly, how will budding star Lee Evans accept being relegated to a secondary role?
To compound that, the team has other self-inflicted hurdles: their offensive coordinator Turk Schoenert was fired during the preseason; Owens’ toe is nicked up; and, 1,000-yard running back Marshawn Lynch is suspended through the end of September.
So, while the Bills may prove decent as the season moves along, a prime-time game versus Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Wes Welker and a Patriot team juiced up after a playoff-less season is not the ideal opener.
Something that could help out the Bills would be the Patriots missing a key ingredient in their impressive aerial assault. Tom Brady may be back, but he could be without his most reliable possession receiver Wes Welker. The 100-catch man is dealing with a knee injury that is threatening his availability for Monday.
Obviously the loss of Welker would hurt the Patriots, but did I mention that Tom Brady is back?
Despite its dynastic success this decade led by the Belichick-Brady duo, New England is like any other team at this early stage of the season and has unknowns just like the Bills do. For example, though it’s believed that the very recent loss of Richard Seymour is mitigated by the Pats’ great depth on the defensive line, it surely is not a given that a 2011 first round pick was worth losing a five-time Pro Bowler who is not yet 30.
Of course, Tom Brady’s knee is another major issue, especially in his first real test on Monday night. He looked good in the preseason, but generally quarterbacks coming off knee injuries start slowly (see Palmer, Carson; Manning, Peyton).
Laurence Maroney, injured nearly all of 2008, needs to return to his 2006-2007 form in order to be the top back. If he’s not, however, New England has capable backups in veterans Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris, as well as second-year man BenJarvus Green-Ellis (likely as a goal-line back).
The Bills only scored 10 points combined in their two meetings with New England last season (both losses). It might be semi-tight in the first half, but the talent level between the two teams, plus the home atmosphere on opening night with the national TV audience, will give the Pats a fairly comfortable triumph and cover.