In another game that has some of the biggest playoff implications on the weekend the New England Patriots will play at Buffalo against the Bills. This division matchup features two of the top teams in the AFC East who are battling for the top spot. Whoever wins this game has a really good chance of winning the division. The Bills look like they would have the tiebreaker if they end splitting wins on the year and have the same record as the Patriots lost a division game to the Dolphins whereas the Bills have not lost to the Jets or Dolphins yet on the year. The Patriots won the first matchup in a defensive battle 14-10 in one of the weirdest games in the NFL this season, or in the last 10 seasons for that matter. It was a heavy wind game where the Patriots threw just three passes and controlled the clock with their top tier running attack. This matchup should feature a more normal game to see who is the top dog in the AFC East.
The Patriots look like they can be Super Bowl contenders this year even with a rookie quarterback in Mac Jones. That is because he is not a regular rookie quarterback. Jones has shown great accuracy and decision making in his first year in the NFL and had this Patriots team at seven straight wins before last week. In week 15 they ran into another one of the hottest NFL teams in the Indianapolis Colts and could not handle their rushing attack with Jonathan Taylor who is arguably the best running back in the NFL right now. They lost by 10 but Jones made some impressive plays in the fourth quarter including two scoring drives to get them back in the game showing that he can be more than just a game manager quarterback in the NFL.
The last stretch of games on the schedule was one of the hardest in the entire NFL that the Bills had to endure. They dropped three out of four of them losing to the Colts, Patriots, and Buccaneers but managed to come away with a win against the Saints. Then in week 15 they made easy work of the Carolina Panthers. The Patriots proved that the Bills may be a little too one dimensional when they beat them last time as they could not run the ball at all. It works for the most part but it will be interesting to see if the Bills can establish a running attack against them this time around. Josh Allen is one of the best young quarterbacks in the league and may be a top five quarterback right now. Pairing him with Stefon Diggs and other weapons such as tight end Dallas Knox has made for a dangerous team.
In this game the Patriots will have to open up their playbook a lot more than they did in the first game against the Bills but should probably stick to their game of a run first offence. The defence and running game has been what has got it done all year for them and they won't look to change that here. The Bills will look to come out firing this game as they were ultimately unable to do that against the Patriots last game due to the weather conditions and this could be a much higher scoring affair than the previous game. The Patriots will have to bring all facets of their offensive arsenal to keep up with the high scoring and big play Bills for this one.
The Bills need to key on not letting the Patriots control the ball and time of possession. Josh Allen is already an elite quarterback but he can't do anything if he barely gets the ball. To start to do that the defence has to stop the run a lot better than they did in their first matchup. Additionally, the Bills will need to establish some kind of running game to better set up Josh Allen and the passing attack on shorter second and third downs that are more manageable to sustain drives. This game expects to be another cold one but far less windy so Allen and the Bills can let loose on some more deep pass plays that they have done all year.
This second matchup of the year for the Bills and Patriots looks like it has the potential to be the NFL game of the week with two great defences and very different offensive attacks meeting each other head on. The Patriots are only favored by two in this game that predicts it to be one of the closest matchups of the weekend as well. Neither of these teams are one that any team would want to see in the playoffs as they are both built for cold weather and have tough defences that can shut down an opponent on any given week. Look for this to be a game that could come down to the last possession as two young quarterbacks go head to head to win the division.