NFL Mismatches: Week 9

Updated: November 1, 2002, 6:51 AM ET
By by Ryan Early
Each week we preview one matchup per game that is such a mismatch that it should make an impact on the game, either through its exploitation or by changing a team's plans to try to compensate. Two grudge matches highlight the Week 9 games. The falling Raiders try to turn things around against a rejuvenated 49ers offense in the battle for the Bay Area. On the other side of the country, both Drew Bledsoe and Tom Brady want to prove their worth when the Bills host Bledsoe's former team, the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick vs. Bills QB Drew Bledsoe

Coaches and quarterbacks are the most important people to any football team. In this highly hyped matchup that promises to be the closest game of the week, the Patriots coaches know Bledsoe probably better than he knows himself. Though Bledsoe will be plenty motivated to show the Patriots that they made a mistake in getting rid of him, the Pats will be equally motivated to show why they made the choice they did. Expect to see a lot of nickel and dime coverages to cover the deep part of the field, and blitzes designed to flush Bledsoe to his left. Bledsoe is not an agile quarterback at all and he loses a lot of accuracy when he tries to throw on the run.