Christmas East

AFC Game Of The Week

Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots

Bills: They have been one of the laughingstocks of the NFL for the last decade or so, but this year, they’ve been on it for most of the season. Usually, when we get to this point of the season, the questions always arise about the Bills. What will they do come draft time? Who will be their next head coach? What does this organization do to finally get this ship headed in the right direction? I don’t think we’ll hear many of those talks this year for now because here they are at 8-6 and in the sixth spot of the AFC playoff picture as a wild-card team. Just a few weeks ago, this football team really had me scratching my head and I really wondered why they decided to bench a more than capable quarterback in Tyrod Taylor and sit him for an unproven rookie in Nathan Peterman. To this day, I will always wonder and question them for that, but for now, I will look ahead and let’s be perfectly clear here, without Tyrod under center, the Buffalo Bills aren’t in the position they’re in right now and they’ve been on a roll lately. They beat Kansas City in Arrowhead, a tough place to play, they needed overtime to beat the Colts in a winter wonderland at home and last week, they were able to shut down and close out the Miami Dolphins last week. It’s a new week now with a new opponent and they’ll face the kings of the AFC East on Sunday afternoon.

Patriots: The one thing we’ve all come to know about this team is their ability to bounce back after a loss and if you watch the tape of the game last week in Pittsburgh, they didn’t look all that great. The Steelers were sticking it to them pretty much through the game until the fourth quarter when the Steelers decided to get a little too complacent. Tom Brady is now my frontrunner to win the league MVP and that final drive to give the Patriots the lead I think sealed the deal. He was so accurate, he was on point with his passes and when the game is on the line, there’s no other guy I want leading my team down the field to put us in a better position than Tom Terrific himself. What else is there to say about Rob Gronkowski? You saw how much of a difference he made being on the field last week than when he wasn’t when they fell to the Dolphins. He was simply cold-blooded on the final possession. He caught four passes for 69 yards receiving and scored the go-ahead two-point conversion. We talk about this Patriots defense all the time and how much of a bend but don’t break unit they are. They gave up that big play to Smith-Schuster and then once they were in the red zone, they found a way to put the clamps down and make a play. There’s still more to play for as they close in on another one seed in the AFC.

Bills Player To Watch: Micah Hyde– He’s been one of the best things to happen to the Bills this season and he’s a veteran bringing leadership to a young secondary. He’s got the ability to cover a lot of ground and Sunday, he’ll be needed to help defend Gronk over the middle and Cooks or Hogan down the field.

Patriots Player To Watch: Dion Lewis: The Patriots running game has started to wake up and he’s been a big reason why. He’s able to do more than just catch the ball out the backfield as most Patriot backs are known to do. He could honestly end up being that key player for them during the playoffs.

Final Analysis: When these two last met, New England dominated the game and that wasn’t what we took away from the battle at all. We all remember Gronk dropping his elbow down on Tre’Davious White which resulted in White being placed in concussion protocol and Gronk missing a game for his actions. This could be a chippy game to watch. McCoy has been on a tear for the Bills as of late and if they watched any of New England’s game last week against Pittsburgh, they struggled to stop Bell. Establishing a solid ground game will be key for Buffalo. New England can’t always depend on giving up the big play down the field and make stops in the red zone. Get off the field on third down and keep Taylor in the pocket.

Prediction: Patriots 33 Bills 21