Patriots vs Bills: 3 keys to victory ahead of divisional showdown

Mac Jones, New England Patriots (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
Mac Jones, New England Patriots (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) /
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After losing 33-26 to the Vikings on Thanksgiving day, the 6-5 New England Patriots are heading into their biggest matchup of the season in what could be a must-win game against the Buffalo Bills.

While there are no moral victories in the NFL, it was refreshing to see Mac Jones and the offense battle the way they did against Minnesota. Despite the loss, the Patriots finally proved they are capable of competing in higher scoring games.

With a 3-1 record in their last month of football, New England is a lot more of a threat to knock off the Bills on Thursday night than they might seem. If the Patriots can be successful in these three keys to victory, they will be poised to pull of the upset against the AFC East favorite.

No. 1 – Patriots must keep the offense unpredictable

One of the major storylines for New England in the offseason was the head-scratching move to appoint Matt Patricia as head play-caller. Coming from a defensive background, it was a surprising move, and with the exception of last week the Patriots’ offense has been lifeless.

The offensive turnaround that was seen against the Vikings is a result of New England swaying from the same old game plan. There have been far too many three-and-out drives this season that were run-run-incomplete pass-punt.

Last week, we saw the Patriots mix it up, pushing the ball downfield with more three and four wide receiver sets. The result was Mac Jones’ best performance of the season.

Moving forward play calls should lean into this more versatile style; even if that means players and coaches must step out of their comfort zone and away from the same old Patriots we’ve seen the past couple years.

While this approach may be riskier, last week proved that Mac Jones can find success when taking chances and New England should look into that while preparing for one of the league’s best defenses.