The Buffalo Bills (5-9) will head into the house of the New England Patriots (9-5) this Sunday. Tom Brady and Patriots have the opportunity to clinch the AFC East division and secure their spot in the playoffs. The Bills are mathematically eliminated from the postseason but have the chance to make the Patriots road to the playoffs a more bumpier road than it already is.
The first meeting between the two teams was a close battle up until the fourth quarter. At the end of three quarters, the Patriots led by six. Up until a pick-six by Devin McCourty, the Bills fought until that point and had plenty of opportunities to steal a possible win.
This will be a different game. The Patriots are on a two-game losing streak and news broke today that Josh Gordon has left the Patriots to focus on his mental health, and then eventually placed on the leagues’ suspension list as reported by Adam Schefter.
The Bills will have their starting quarterback in Josh Allen. Having missed the first game between the two teams, Allen faces Brady and the Patriots for the first in his career. Allen has been on a role for the Bills offense with finding a connection with wideout Robert Foster.
What will hurt the Bills? The missing presence of Matt Milano on the defense. Milano suffered a broken fibula against the Jets in Week 14 and he played a big role in the first game between the Bills and the Patriots.
What will be the key matchups for this Sunday?
Josh Allen vs. Pats secondary
If history repeats itself, the Patriots defense finds a way to rough up the Bills quarterback. Allen is a special kind of talent that the Bills offense has not had in recent years. He’ll be throwing into a secondary of McCourty and Stephon Gilmore. Allen may use his legs again to make the big plays, but his ability to throw the ball down the field may challenge this secondary.
Tom Brady vs. Bills front four
The Bills front four, led by Kyle Williams will be a reason why Brady either succeeds or crumbles. Jerry Hughes is having a monster year for the Bills and he should be in the face of Brady throughout the game.
The Bills vs. themselves
The Bills are high up in the league with penalties against them. The Patriots take advantage of opponents mental mistakes and they capitalize on those opportunities. The Bills need to be mentally tough and not allow any mistake cost them a potential scoring drive.