Probably the only AFC East matchup all year that has mattered for anything, the Pats meet the Bills on Christmas Eve. The Bills, who are actually fighting for a playoff spot, need this game to stay alive in the wild card talks. The Pats need this game to stay in contention for home field advantage. As much as this should be a layup, the Dolphins should have too.
Something has been up with Brady lately. I’m gonna ignore the whole Alex Guererro situation and get straight to the football related things. No Chris Hogan for weeks on weeks. Man and double coverage’s draped all over Brandin Cooks. This has resulted in a bunch of dump passes to James White and Danny Amendola, and a monster second half out of Gronk last week. I can’t imagine other teams are going to let Gronk do that again, so other receivers need to get something going. With Cooks’ speed he should be getting open on man coverage. Phillip Dorsett needs to be useful in some sense, even if that just means running streaks to stretch the D. Maybe Kenny Britt will step up and be a red zone threat. Dion Lewis has been great, but I feel like James White has not been as effective as he was at the beginning of the season. The offense should still backpack this game, but they need to look sharper to continue to be a threat.
The run defense has not looked good, and this is a chance for them to prove themselves. Shady McCoy and Tyrod Taylor are no joke, they can beat you bad with their feet. If they can be contained, maybe the defense can redeem themselves. Missing Kyle Van Noy has also hurt, as he has been important in chasing down runs to the outside with his speed. Pat Chung has been burnt out in playing both in pass coverage and run support, and the rest of the linebackers have not stepped up as needed. Eric Lee killed the Bills last game, and maybe he can do the same again. Nothing about the passing game v.s. the secondary is worrisome. Just more McCoy catching passes could be a killer if he can’t be contained.
If the Bills really want to retaliate against Gronk, by all means please do. You guys are the ones fighting for your playoff lives. They need to play smart to stay in this game, playing chippy against the Pats will only put it more out of reach. 34-20 Pats
Written By: Jake Kobierski (@TheRealKobe83)