Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots Game Preview

AP Photo/Joshua Bessex

Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots Game Preview

Football

Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots Game Preview

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AP Photo/Joshua Bessex

After playing on Thanksgiving, both the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots are set to face off for another Thursday game. The teams had different results on Thursday as the Bills beat the Detroit Lions while the Patriots fell to the Minnesota Vikings. In a divisional matchup, anything can happen.

This is a tough defense that the Bills offense will be facing. Against the Lions without Mitch Morse and then Dion Dawkins getting injured during the game, Josh Allen was pressured 14 times. Pressure has been the key to this Patriots front seven this season as they have accumulated 112 pressures in which they have also turned into 37 sacks. Matthew Judon is the huge contributor here that the Bills will need to slow down, as Judon has 13 sacks on the season. Allen can present troubles for this Patriots defense though with his rushing ability, something New England has struggled with this season. Look at Lamar Jackson, and Justin Fields as both quarterbacks found success against New England being able to create plays outside the pocket. Look for Allen to do the same.

The pass defense for the Patriots has been stingy this season, allowing the lowest completion percentage in the league with 58.4%. On 211 completions, the secondary has only allowed them to turn into 2,184 yards and 15 touchdowns. They did just allow Kirk Cousins to throw for 299 yards and three touchdowns against them. Justin Jefferson was hard for them to contain, as Jefferson had 139 yards over nine receptions. Stefon Diggs will pose a similar problem for New England to cover, just as Jefferson did. Out of any spot, it is the slot receivers that have given New England the greatest problem, and the Bills got Isaiah McKenzie going last week. Against the Lions, McKenzie had six receptions go for 96 yards and a touchdown. In two games against the Patriots last year, McKenzie presented problems with 14 receptions going for 170 yards and a touchdown. If Diggs and Gabe Davis get slowed down, look for McKenzie to have a day.

The Patriots haven’t found too much production on offense, but when they do, it is with their ground game. Rhamondre Stevenson has taken over the backfield, leading the team with 680 yards and four rushing touchdowns. Stevenson also presents mismatches with his ability to receive passes, enough so that he is third on the team in receiving yards with 359. Receiving backs have been a slight issue for the Bills to cover, as they have allowed seven yards per reception out of the backfield. Their entire run defense has struggled as of late, with Tremaine Edmunds missing time. He has practiced in full this week, and would be a welcomed addition back for the Bills when facing a rushing attack like the Patriots. 

The Patriots offensive line has done a good enough job of keeping Mac Jones clean as they have only allowed 70 pressures, but 31 of them have turned into sacks. The Patriots won’t have to worry about defending against Von Miller, as he suffered a meniscus tear. The one the Patriots will have to defend heavily against is Greg Rousseau, who looks like he could be making his return from an ankle sprain. Rousseau is third on the team in pressures with 10, which he has turned into five sacks. Jones faced 12 pressures against the Vikings, and turned that into his best performance on the season with 382 yards and two touchdowns while completing 71.8% of his passes. On the season, Jones has thrown only six touchdowns to seven interceptions, and the Bills secondary has capitalized on errors with 13 interceptions. Jones will need to play another game just like he did against the Vikings. 

The Patriots at home in December is typically a great pick, but this Bills team got their momentum back late against the Lions, and that should carry over into a victory.

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