3 New England Patriots defenders on high alert vs Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

New England Patriots (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
New England Patriots (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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New England Patriots
New England Patriots Adrian Phillips (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /

Adrian Phillips and the New England Patriots secondary vs Dawson Knox

The New England Patriots will focus on taking away wide receiver Stefon Diggs, which could open things up for Buffalo Bills tight end Dawson Knox.

With the status of Kyle Dugger unknown, veteran safety Adrian Phillips will play a big role in this game because of his ability to play in the box against the run and defend a tight end like Knox. His versatility will certainly be utilized in this game because Belichick is very much aware of how much of an impact the young, talented tight end can be in the Bills’ passing game as well as his importance as a blocker.

"“He’s a good player,” Belichick said during his press conference Friday. “We’ve certainly had trouble with him before. Very competitive in every phase of the game. Good hands. Good receiver. Can make plays down the field. Coverts third downs. Good in the red area. Competitive blocker. Can detach from the line from the formation, sometimes in the backfield, not a lot, but has the versatility to go back there and do things. He’s a versatile player that Coach [Brian] Daboll moves around and utilizes in different ways, different matchups, different formations. He’s done a good job for them.”"

While Belichick may use a longer cornerback like JoeJuan Williams to defend Knox, a physical safety like Phillips would be the better bet, especially in a big game. Like his performance against the Los Angeles Chargers in which he picked off Justin Herbert twice, Phillips will have an opportunity to make some plays if Allen is forced out of the pocket or forced to get rid of the ball quickly.

An undervalued free agent signing prior to the 2020 NFL season, Phillips could and should be a big reason the Patriots’ defense limit the Buffalo Bills offense in this AFC East showdown.

In concluding, they may give up some yards to Knox, but where they really must stop him is in the red zone. That’s where Phillips or whoever is responsible for Knox must step up in a big way.