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The Buffalo Bills are 8-6 and just a game behind the Patriots in the AFC East, so their postseason hopes rest on a few more wins, and a victory over New England helps their cause immensely, but QB Josh Allen and his 8th ranked offense must not only face the Pats’ third-ranked defense, they have to do it while trying to communicate over this noisy Foxboro crowd.
After a loss last week to the Colts shattered their seven-game winning streak, the New England Patriots must fight to stay in charge of their division, but their AFC North rivals, the Buffalo Bills, are coming to town hoping that Pats’ rookie QB Mac Jones and his young offense will crack under pressure, something that GOAT HC Bill Belichick will make sure does not happen.
These two AFC East rivals have faced each other 123 previous times (including 1 postseason game), with the New England Patriots winning 77 of those games and the Buffalo Bills winning 45 of the games, plus there has been one tie.
There are a few NFL venues notorious for being difficult on visiting teams, and Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass is one of them, the crowd typically well oiled by game time and more than happy to share their verbal opinions with players not wearing blue, red, and new century silver.
It will be up to the Buffalo Bills offense, specifically QB Josh Allen, to figure out how to work around the noise factor, something that HC Sean McDermott has most likely figured out and addressed in practices all week long.
Silent counts and hand thumps will have to suffice, but that could lead to plenty of pre-snap penalties that are killer every time, but especially when the game is close like this battle for the AFC East will most likely be right to the end.
The Patriots have the third-best overall defense in the league right now, and that also includes their 3rd ranked pass defense, a group that will no doubt have its hands full facing one of the league’s top young QBs in Josh Allen, whose cannon arm and high football IQ are dangerous.
The Patriots have the cure for that on defense with a playmaker like CB J.C. Jackson roaming their secondary, the fourth-year pro now with seven interceptions, second-most in the league, a speedy player who can close the gap quickly and use well-timed hands to ruin most catches.
Buffalo’s deep ball threat is bad enough, but Allen is also excellent at hitting his check-down receivers, so Patriots’ veteran safety Devin McCourty will be busy all game long, his crew needing to neutralize Bills top receiver Stefon Diggs if they expect to earn a win here.
It is receiver Stefon Diggs’ second season in Buffalo, and he is already one of QB Josh Allen’s favorite playmakers to target, his speed and maneuverability making him almost impossible to cover with just one player and his strong hands turning most targets into receptions.
Diggs has decent size at 6’ tall and 191 pounds heavy, and he can get vertical to fight for just about any contested ball, and this season so far he has been targeted 128 times for 82 receptions for 1,007 yards and 8 TDs, a veteran who brings confidence to this young offense.
Keep an eye on Diggs all game, his ability to keep defenses on their toes fun to watch, especially when all that attention he garners causes his other teammates to get open, this 7th ranked passing attack tough to stop when he is healthy and that will give the Pats a challenge.
Running the ball for the Patriots is Damien Harris, a three-year pro (all with New England) who has already outproduced himself from last season as he becomes one of the go to rushers on the team along with JJ Taylor (Covid) and rookie Rhamondre Stevenson.
The Patriots’ 13th ranked rushing attack was key to their offense last time these two teams met in Week 13 (QB Mac Jones only threw the ball three times that entire game), and Harris, who has averaged 4.8 yards per carry as a pro is the perfect player to provide that on Sundays.
This season, Harris has carried the ball 164 times for 754 yards on the ground and 9 touchdowns, plus he has caught 13 balls for 84 more yards, a dual-threat that the Bills will have to key on because once Harris gets warmed up at Foxboro, he could take over the game.
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|Bills vs Patriots Information
|Buffalo Bills vs New England Patriots
|Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA
|Sunday, December 26, 2021; 1:00 PM ET
|How to watch
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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