We have the third installment in this AFC East rivalry for Wild Card weekend. The matchup we have that will take place on Saturday night is between the six seed New England Patriots and the three seed Buffalo Bills. This matchup will conclude the Saturday slate of games for Wild Card weekend and if it is going to be anything like the first two meetings this year, we are in for a treat. The Bills have won four out of their last five coming into the postseason, while the Patriots are 2-3 in their last five games. With that being said here is my preview for the Patriots vs Bills matchup for Wild Card weekend.
This Patriots offense had weird expectations coming into the season. Starting a rookie quarterback for the first time in a long time for Bill Belichick is something that Patriots fans are not use to seeing. This Patriots offense has scored the sixth most points per game this season (27.2 PPG). They are eight in rushing yards per game (126.5) and are 10th in the league converting on third downs at 43.5 percent. This offense is run heavy and it is led by Damien Harris. Harris had 929 rushing yards on the season, averaging 4.6 yards per carry and had 15 rushing touchdowns as well.
Passing wise the Patriots have two receivers in the 800 receiving yards total for the season (Meyers and Bourne). They have a tight end with zero drops on the season in Hunter Henry and a rookie quarterback that exceeded expectations and played at a level above where people thought he would be at. He set a franchise record for most passing touchdowns by a rookie quarterback and has thrown for over 3,800 passing yards on the season. Belichick will need his offense to be sharp in this third matchup with the Bills.
Defensively, is the Patriots bread and butter this season. The Patriots defense allows the second fewest points per game and they are in the top three in passing yards allowed per game and total yards allowed per game. This front seven got rejuvenated by the signing of Matthew Judon. Judon had 12.5 sacks on the season and was a threat every game for the Patriots. This defense will need to continue their success in order to have a successful playoff run this year.
The Buffalo Bills are back to back AFC East division champions. This time in the postseason during Wild Card weekend, they get a tough draw against their division rival. The Bills offense is one of the best in the league. Seventh in total yards of offense per game. Ninth in passing yards per game. 6th in rushing yards per game, 3rd in points per game and 3 in converting on third down. This offense is led again by Josh Allen who put up some MVP like numbers in 2021. Allen has thrown for 4,407 passing yards to go along with 36 passing touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He also is adding 6 rushing touchdowns and was the teams second leading rusher.
Allen can do it all, but it makes it a lot easier when you have a talented wide receiver like Stefon Diggs on your team. This offense is 7-2 on the season when Stefon Diggs has a receiving touchdown. Diggs is a main part in this offense and he will be vital to their chances at moving onto the Divisional round.
Defensively, this Bills team has been legit all season long. They give up the fewest points per game, the allow the fewest passing yards per game and they allow the fewest total yards of offense per game as well. Even with the loss of their All-Pro corner back Tre’Davious White. this Bills defense has been great this season. They are going to need to show how talented they are to stop this solid Patriots offense.
Buffalo is a 4 point favorite with the over/under set at 44. With the way the weather looks I lean the under in this matchup. If this is anything like the first matchup between these two teams, the under should hit comfortably. However, I will stay away from the total and focus on the spread. My official play is Patriots +4. I like the Patriots chances to win outright and road teams have better success during wild card weekend the past few seasons. Take the points in this one, as if Buffalo wins I think it is by a field goal. Patriots could win this outright if that rushing attack can help carry them.
-Chris Jones (@cjoneswho1212)
Featured Image (lineups.com)
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