The Battle for AFC East Supremacy: The Bills vs Patriots Prime Time Showdown
Updated: Dec 11, 2021
Written by: Alex James
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman
The Buffalo Bills cruised to victory on Thanksgiving defeating the New Orleans Saints 31-6 in Louisiana. The victory came four days after a humbling defeat against the Indianapolis Colts, a game which left fans having a truly grim outlook on what might be, regarding the remainder of the season.
The bounce back win & domination shown Thursday was a major source of excitement on this rollercoaster year, however it did come with cost. Defensive star Tre White, a cornerstone of the Bills defence (no pun intended) injured himself during the game and was later diagnosed with a torn ACL for which he will miss the remainder of the season.
This injury is devastating to the Bills secondary, and Leslie Frazier will need to work his magic to maintain the dominance this defence has shown throughout season, while having the next player ready to step in and fulfill White's role on the field.
Photo Credit: billswire.usatoday.com
The Bills (7-4) will welcome the New England Patriots (8-4) to Highmark Stadium on Monday evening, a primetime game between two AFC East powerhouses fighting for division supremacy. This is the first meeting between the two teams this season, and without a doubt one of the most important games for either team going forward.
Josh Allen and the offence are in for a competitive matchup against a stringy Pats defence, a group which ranks 4th in total yards, 1st in points allowed, and 3rd in passing yards per game across the NFL. However, they do have a weakness in a rushing defence that is ranked 20th, allowing 115 yards per game and an area the Bills offence will look to utilize against them.
Buffalo is currently ranked 11th in rushing yards per game (118), and we’ve now seen a new rotation over the last few weeks with Matt Breida dressing over Zack Moss against the Saints. In the 3 games Breida has played in this season, he has 109 yards rushing, and it will be interesting to see with Moss being 100% healthy, who McDermott chooses for the game day roster moving forward.
Provided by Statmuse.com
The second matchup to look forward too in this primetime game is the battle of the coaches; McDermott vs. Belichick. Situational play-calling, clock management, & schemes/personnel use might be the slightest difference in a closely-fought game on Monday night. How will the Bills defence cope without White? Will Belichick exploit this "weakened" Bills side? Which team will be more disciplined and not have costly penalties? Which team will limit their turnovers and maintain more possession?
All these questions being discussed are likely being worked out currently in preparation for the prime time game . Head-to-head Belichick is leading McDermott in the series 6-2, but the previous 2 games have been won by Buffalo showing a change in AFC east reigns. It'll be interesting to see how this game plays out and which teams truly shows up to play on national television come Monday night.
Statistics provided by Footballdb.com
Game day weather is expected to have rain & snow showers throughout the day, with an 60% chance of snow showers at night. The high for Monday will be in the mid-40s while the low is supposed to be in the mid-20s. If this weather forecast is accurate the ground game/rushing defence for both teams will be all that more important and foretelling of how this game might turn out. Can the Bills get the run going? Will the Pats run defence get exploited like the statistics have shown all season? These questions will be answered soon enough.
The Bills injury report on Friday is as follows: 3 players were limited in practice- Reggie Gilliam (ankle), Star Lotulelei (illness), & Matt Milano (shoulder).
At the beginning of the year I stated the Bills will go 5-1/4-2 against division opponents, and with the Patriots yet to have their Bye week I think the Bills have a great chance to be successful on Monday night. Both teams are evenly matched and something most of us weren't necessarily expecting to be the case at the beginning of the season. This game will showcase the team which will reign supremacy as the the AFC East Division Champions for 2021-2022 and right now it's truly either teams title to take.
Photo Credit: billswire.usatoday.com
Bills - 27
Patriots - 24
Circle the Wagons,
References- https://www.footballdb.com/games/preview.html?gid=2021120601, https://www.espn.com/nfl/team/_/name/buf/buffalo-bills, https://www.stadiumforecast.com/football/nfl/bills/weather.php/forecast.html, https://www.buffalobills.com/team/injury-report/