New England Patriots: 3 keys to beating the Bills in the Wild Card round

Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
4 of 4
New England Patriots
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports /

New England Patriots key No. 1: Get Mac Jones involved

Mac Jones first two games against Buffalo probably didn’t go the way he thought they would. Through the two regular season contests, Jones combined to complete 16 of his 35 passes for 164 yards and two interceptions. Compared to what we have seen Jones do at times this season, those are some pretty paltry numbers.

There are a lot of things that Pats are going to have to do different this time around if they want to win, but the number one thing they have to do is get Jones going early and often. This offense can function without Jones playing up to par, but they aren’t going to be able to beat Buffalo without him playing at his best.

It’s going to be up to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to get Jones going early. Draw up a few plays that will result in some easy looks for Jones to get him into a rhythm, and then open up the playbook. New England has steamrolled Buffalo on the ground in both of their previous contests without having any sort of passing attack to help them out. If Jones can figure out what looks the Bills are throwing at him and make the right reads, that’s a huge advantage for the Pats.

Based on how the last two games went, there should be matchups that Jones can take advantage of throughout this game. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Bills line up five or six guys in the box throughout the game to try to limit the run game, and force Jones to make throws to win the game. It’s fair to expect Jones to be under pressure for most of his throws too.

Next. Tough cap decisions await the Patriots in 2022. dark

He’s going to need some help from his receivers, but if the Bills force the Patriots to put the ball in Jones’ hands, he’s going to need to step up in a big way. Obviously the ideal situation would involve New England going up early and running the Bills into submission, but I wouldn’t count on that happening. This is going to be an absolute dogfight, and if the New England Patriots intend to prevail, they are going to need a big outing from their rookie quarterback.