The battle for the AFC east will take place this Monday night. The New England Patriots will visit the Buffalo Bills for a week 13 matchup. The Patriots are surging as they are winners of their last 6. The Bills are 3-3 in their last 6, including a blowout loss to the Colts and a low scoring loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars who are 2-9 this season.
The two teams have yet to play each other this season. They will face off twice in the next 4 weeks.
The Patriots have been on a roll the past 6 weeks, outscoring their opponents 211-63. Now the Bills are a tougher matchup than anyone the Pats have faced on this win streak. The Pats are currently sitting atop the AFC East at 8-4. The Bills are second at 7-4.
What is key for the Patriots to win?
Defense Defense Defense
Josh Allen and the Bills have been scoring just under 30 points per game this season. The passing attack is their strength, Stefon Diggs has scored 7 touchdowns this season and gone for about 850 yards. This is where JC Jackson comes in. Jackson has been one of the best lockdown corners in the league for about a season and a half. He has 7 interceptions this season already.
The Patriots have allowed just 15 points per game this season. A great recipe for success. Don’t expect them to hold the Bills to that, but the Bills will have to work for their offense this week.
Just last week Mac Jones had the highest QB passer rating of all quarterbacks in week 12. It has been extremely impressive to watch him, and see him grow more and more comfortable in the NFL. He has been one of the most accurate quarterbacks this season, and the more the season goes on, the better he looks.
The Patriots will need Mac Jones to play to the best of his abilities if they want to win against the Bills and maintain the AFC lead. The Bills are looking to make Jones look like a rookie, but missing Tre’Davious White will hurt. Jones will have to lead the Patriots as their rushing attack has taken the backseat the last few weeks.
Playmakers Need to Make Plays
The Patriots don’t have the starpower on offense like the Bills do in Allen and Diggs. They will need their receivers and running backs to make things happen on the field. Last week Kendrick Bourne made a tough catch in the endzone as well as a catch and run for his second TD of the game. The offense can not rely on Mac Jones to do everything. Tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry need to contribute to the offense. The more they spread the ball around the less defenses can focus in on one player or one aspect of the offense.
The Bills are looking to find their identity. Their inconsistencies have been their biggest weakness. Giving up 41 points and getting blown out by the Colts, losing to the Jaguars and only scoring 6 points, they went on a four game win streak early on in the season where they scored 156 points. They have been all over the place this year.
They have yet to show that they are legit playoff contenders yet this season.
What can they do to help themselves win this week?
Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs
Allen and Diggs are one of the best QB/WR duos in the league. The Bills went out and got Diggs specifically to help out Josh Allen. He has been very good this season, going over 100 yards twice, with 7 touchdowns. These two need to find a way to beat JC Jackson, Matthew Judon, and the rest of the Pats defense.
The Bills are not a great rushing team, they have yet to have a 100 yard rusher on the season. Teams can zone in on the passing attack against them.
Running the Ball
The Bills are a pass first team, but the Patriots and Bill Belichick know that. They have a strong secondary and the Bills will not have an easy time defeating the Patriots through the air.
Zack Moss, Matt Breida and Devin Singletary have all shared the load, mainly because none of them have established themselves as the RB1. Singletary is the leading rusher with 459 yards, and in second, is Josh Allen. No one on the Bills has carried the ball 100 times this season.
If the Patriots can maintain Allen and Diggs, the Bills may struggle to find offense.
Patriots Bills Predictions
This should be one of the best games of the season. Two of the better teams in the NFL, a divisional battle, and two of the better young quarterbacks in the league.
Both teams have strong defense, the Bills don’t allow a lot of yards, the Patriots force a lot of turnovers. I predict this will be a low scoring affair and a heavy defensive game.
I think the Patriots continue to play extremely well, and will pull out a close win as the Bills continue to try and figure themselves out.
A big factor is Tre’Davious White being out. He is one of the best defensive players in the NFL and the Bills secondary will miss him.
Player and Final Score Predictions
Mac Jones: 275 passing yard – 1 passing TD – 1 INT
Josh Allen: 315 passing yards – 2 passing TD – 2 INT
D. Singletary/M. Breida/Z. Moss: 75 total rushing yards
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