Patriots vs Bills Preview

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

12/06/21 By Lara Hill

With the New England Patriots currently sitting on top of the AFC for the first time since Tom Brady’s departure, the team’s primetime matchup against the Buffalo Bills becomes drastically more important.

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

The Bills swept the Cam Newton-led Patriots last season, dominating New England on Monday Night Football in the team’s last matchup by a score of 38-9. However, rookie quarterback Mac Jones and the Patriots dominant front seven present new challenges to quarterback Josh Allen and company.

Both teams have produced dominant performances, with the Patriots and Bills allowing the fewest and second-fewest points in the league. The Bills allow the sixth-fewest rushing yards per game, with an average of 96.6 yards allowed this season. This presents a significant challenge for second-year running back Damien Harris, who produced only 105 rushing yards against a beat-up Titans defense. 

If the Patriots running game cannot produce its typical dominant and consistent running plays, the offense will rely on the rookie quarterback to take on the second-most efficient defense in the league. The Bills give up 178.5 passing yards per season, so Jones will have to rely on his chemistry with wide receivers Kendrick Bourne, Nelson Agholor, Jakobi Meyers, and tight end Hunter Henry to help drive the team down the field.  

If the Patriots want to push their winning streak to seven games and remain undefeated on the road, they need to force turnovers and should look to cornerbacks J.C. Jackson and Adrian Phillips, and linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley to do just that. The team has produced 19 interceptions and forced 11 fumbles this season, and with Josh Allen on track to produce a career-high in interceptions this season, the Patriots have an opportunity to show how dominant their defensive unit is.

There are significant playoff implications riding on the results of the matchup for the entire AFC. A loss for the Patriots not only removes the team from the number one seed but moves the Bills atop the AFC East once again. With the Bills and Patriots boasting dominant defensive performances so far this season, expect this intense matchup to be a close, low-scoring game that might come down to a field goal.