Reassessing the New England Patriots final six games of the season

Christian Barmore #90 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Christian Barmore #90 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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New England Patriots
Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills congratulates Matt Breida #22 (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

New England Patriots Week 13 & 16 opponent: Buffalo Bills

This is the main reason why the Patriots control their own destiny. They still have to play the Buffalo Bills twice in their final six games of the season. The Bills are 6-3 right now, so if they trip up and lose against the Indianapolis Colts this weekend, New England would all of a sudden find themselves a top the AFC East.

Of course, their best shots to knock off the Bills come in the form of their two matchups with them. The Bills were heavy favorites to take the AFC East this season after they made it all the way to the AFC Championship Game last season, and while they will almost certainly be favorites heading into both of these games, they aren’t exactly invincible. They recently sufferred an unexpected loss at the hands of the Jacksonville Jaguars, so they are certainly beatable.

Even with that tough loss in the books, the Bills are easily the Patriots toughest challenge remaining on their schedule, and they have to play them twice. The Bills have a deadly offense, led by star quarterback Josh Allen and wide receiver Stefon Diggs, and their defense is the only defense that is allowing less points per game than New England’s (Bills: 15 points per game, Pats: 16.1 points per game).

The key to beating the Bills this season seems to be whether or not you can pressure Allen. In each of Buffalo’s three losses, Allen has been sacked at least three times, and has been under pressure all game long. It makes sense that when a quarterback is under pressure, they don’t perform as well, and that’s been the case with Allen all season long. Allen also hasn’t been great against New England’s defense so far throughout his career (76.7 QB rating through five games).

The problem is that even if the Patriots defense can slow down Allen and the Bills offense, there’s a good chance the Bills defense can shut down Mac Jones and the Patriots offense. The Bills are second in the league in pass yards allowed per game (190.2) and third in the league in rushing yards allowed per game (83.9). So it may be a struggle to move the ball, which could end up hurting this team.

The most realistic outcome in my eyes is that these squads would split their two game set. It could just as easily go either way, with either team winning both games, but New England thrives in playing grind it out games that the Bills have lost to the Jaguars and Pittsburgh Steelers this season. Buffalo expects to blow opponents out of the water, but that isn’t going to happen against the Pats. I’d expect both teams to win their home contest in this mini-series.