Back-To-Back AFC East Titles: Wildcard Weekend Matchup vs. The Patriots
Written by: Alex James
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The Buffalo Bills are AFC East Division Champions for the second straight year after defeating the New York Jets on Sunday 27-10. While the scoreline at a glance seems closer than originally anticipated, the Bills looked confident and in-control throughout the game, clinching the title at home in front of a loud and boisterous Bills Mafia.
Statistically, the Bills looked dominant on both sides of the ball. On offence, the Bills had 424 total yards (with 170 rushing yards), a 75% success rate in the Jets red zone, 36 minutes of ball-possession & no turnovers. Singletary had an outstanding game with 88 yards on the ground, 24 yards receiving & 2 touchdowns, while Allen threw for 239 yards (for 2 touchdowns) while rushing for 63 yards on the day.
Photo Credit: Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images
Defensively, the Bills put up video game numbers against a weakened Jets offence and rookie Zack Wilson. The Bills only allowed 46 yards total (5 passing yards) & 4 first-downs, with 9 total sacks causing 82 yards lost. Rousseau led the team with 5 solo tackles, while Addison & Poyer both led the team in sacks with 2 each. Oliver was also credited with 1.5 sacks adding another strong performance that has started to become the norm this season.
Photo Credit: Patriots.com
While the celebrations across Highmark Stadium & Buffalo were well-deserved on Sunday night, the Bills are now preparing to welcome the New England Patriots to Orchard Park on Saturday for what should be an exciting Wildcard weekend matchup. New England is coming off a surprising 33-24 loss against the Dolphins Sunday, finishing the season with a 10-7 record and in a wildcard position.
They’re led by Mac Jones who is having quite a decent rookie season, with running back Damien Harris putting up 1000+ all-purpose yards with 15 rushing touchdowns, and wideout Jakobi Meyers leading the receiving core with 866 yards.
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Defensively, both teams have proven their status as top 5 units this season and whichever defence has the game of their lives on Saturday night will likely lead their team to victory. The weaker aspect of the Patriots defence is against the rush, so the importance of Singletary having a big game is critical for the Bills success. In the last 2 games, Singletary has 198 rushing yards with 4 touchdowns which gives him & the Bills a lot of momentum going into this matchup.
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Allen has also been getting it done with his legs putting up 208 rushing yards in the past 3 games and doing whatever is necessary to not allow any broken down play to end in a loss of yardage. The Bills defence did allow a ton of rushing yards in the first meeting with the Pats (remember the wind bowl?) but looked much stronger in the second meeting and will want to continue that dominance.
*As of Wednesday, the injury report has no new designations for any Bills players.
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The only postseason meeting between these two teams was a 1963 divisional round meeting back in the AFL days, when the then Boston Patriots defeated the Bills 26-8 at War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo. Since then, the teams haven't met in a do-or-die scenario and it will be interesting to see how the coaching strategies differentiate on both sidelines for this game. Kickoff will be at 8:15 on Saturday with temperatures hovering in and around zero, with slight chance of snow showers.
The weather will unlikely give one team an advantage as both teams are acclimatized to these colder winter temperatures annually, however if wind does become a factor, we will see the strength of the Bills passing game become severely limited.
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Playoff games provide heroic acts with a team's season becoming defined in 60 minutes between the goalposts. It doesn't matter where you finished in the standings or whether or not you made the Pro Bowl.
This Bills team isn't concerned with individual accolade's & now needs to prove to the rest of the NFL what they've already proven to Bills Mafia: are you championship caliber?
FOREVER CIRCLING THE WAGONS,
https://www.espn.com/nfl/matchup?gameId=401326587, https://www.espn.com/nfl/boxscore/_/gameId/401326592, https://www.footballdb.com/teams/nfl/buffalo-bills, https://www.buffalobills.com/team/injury-report/, https://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/196312280buf.htm,, https://www.stadiumforecast.com/football/nfl/bills/weather.php/forecast.html