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Stealing Harvard: Pats facing tough test in Fitzpatrick

The Patriots need one win to lock up home-field advantage. The first team standing in their way hails from Buffalo.

The Patriots need one win to lock up home-field advantage. The first team standing in their way hails from Buffalo.

This week’s game at the Bills (4-10) could be a much harder test than many expect. If the Pats play the way they did last Sunday night against the Packers, they won’t be as lucky.

When the Pats and Bills met in Week 3, New England had to come from behind in the second half to pull it out, 38-30. It was Ryan Fitzpatrick’s first start of the season, and the Harvard alum was impressive, throwing for 247 yards and two scores. He’s been even better in the last six games, as the Bills have gone 4-2.

“Well, I thought he looked pretty good in that game,” Bill Belichick said, “but certainly with the extra playing time that he’s had throughout the season, he looks pretty solid back there — very comfortable changing plays at the line of scrimmage and moving guys around when he needs to.”

One guy Fitzpatrick has moved around is receiver Steve Johnson, who scored his first TD of the year against the Pats but has since exploded on the scene, with 943 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.

“He’s good with the ball in his hands,” Belichick said. “He can run after the catch [and] take a short gain and turn it into a long one. He’s quick, fast, aggressive — goes up for the ball. I think he’s definitely a go-to guy for them.”

 
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