Bills vs. Buccaneers Preview: Exciting or Unwelcome Rematch with the Goat?
Written by: Alex James
Photo Credit: Joshua Bessex | AP
With all the anticipation built-up for the primetime matchup between the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots the game was a of letdown for two reasons; the weather and the Bills suffering a 14-10 defeat at home against their arch-nemeses. While the game wasn’t easy to watch, there are some peculiar statistics that fans will always remember. For example, Mac Jones was 2/3 in passing with 19 yards in the Patriots victory. Both teams had under 250 yards total offence on the day, and very poor 3rd down conversion rates (Patriots- 2/12, Bills- 4/13).
AFC East Standings
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While it will be a game to be remembered for all the wrong reasons, it's also unfortunate the Bills weren’t able to display their true capabilities in front of the national audience and must wait at least until the playoffs (hopefully) to get that chance again. With the loss, the Bills are now second in the AFC East with a 7-5 record, and currently holding onto the final wildcard spot.
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Things won't be getting easier as the Bills travel to Florida again, this time to face the 9-3 Buccaneers led by Tom Brady. This game has been circled by many Bills fans for it being the first rematch against Brady since his infamous move away from New England in early 2020. Brady and Co., are coming off a victory against the Atlanta Falcons last weekend, and will be looking for their 4th straight win on Sunday.
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This will be the first meeting between the teams since 2017, when the Bills were victorious by a small margin. There have only been 5 games between these teams since the new millennium, with the Bucs having slight edge in the series 3-2.
Looking into Sunday’s matchup, the Buccaneers have an edge in offence statistically in comparison to the Bills. The Buccaneers are ranked 2nd in total offence, 1st in passing, and 1st in points scored (Bills are 9th/8th/5th respectively). The Bills surprisingly have a better run game where they are 13th in comparison to the Buccaneers 25th ranking. After the Bills allowed 220+ rushing yards against the Patriots last weekend, the
D-line will breathe some relief against a Bucs offence that is only averaging 92 yards-per-game on the ground. However, Tom Brady is averaging 300 passing yards per game and the Bills will rely heavily on Levi Wallace, Taron Johnson & Dane Jackson, to keep Brady in check without pro-bowler Tre White playing.
2021 Defensive Team Statistics
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When looking at both teams defences, the Bills have a slight edge statistically ranking 1st in total yards, 1st in passing yards , and 2nd in total points allowed in comparison to Tampa Bay's 10th/20th/16th rankings respectively. However, Tampa Bay has the 2nd ranked rushing defence (Bills are 12th) so it will be crucial for Allen and Co., to get the dominate passing game going again. Will the Bills passing offence get back on track Sunday? Will Josh Allen have a breakout game after a very quiet Monday night? Will the offensive line give Allen enough time to make plays? These all make-or-break questions for the Bills offence for Sunday, and might be the major factor between victory and defeat.
The Bills injury report as of Friday is the following; Star Lotulelei & Tommy Sweeney are (Out), while Emmanuel Sanders (DNP). Weather will be beautiful in Tampa Bay on Sunday, with temperatures reaching 80, partly sunny and very little wind (5mph). This contest is so evenly matched I wouldn’t be surprised if this game goes into overtime to be decided. Tampa Bay comes into this game having won 3 games in a row, and with momentum that will be difficult for the Bills to overcome on the road, and with only 6 days rest. While I won’t predict the outcome, I think this game will be decided by a touchdown or less, and under 50 total points.
Circle The Wagons,
References: https://www.espn.com/nfl/game/_/gameId/401326522, https://www.footballdb.com/games/preview.html?gid=2021121211, https://www.stadiumforecast.com/football/nfl/bucs/weather.php, https://www.buffalobills.com/team/injury-report/.