The New England Patriots visit Orchard Park, New York on Saturday for an AFC wildcard game against the AFC East Champion Buffalo Bills.
The New England Patriots stumbled through the last four games of the regular season, losing three of the four including the final game of the regular season to the Miami Dolphins 33-24. New England finished the regular season sixth in scoring with an average of 27.2 points per game and second in points allowed 17.8 points per game. New England has several players listed on its injury report and some of the key players who will not play include Terez Hall, Anfernee Jennings, Raekwon McMillan, Jalen Mills, Ronnie Perkins and James White, while several others are questionable.
Buffalo won each of its final four games of the regular season to capture the AFC East title. The Bills ended the regular season with a 27-10 victory over the New York Jets. Buffalo's defense has been its key to success as the Bills have allowed an average of only 15.0 points per game in each of the last four games. Buffalo held the Jets to just 53 yards of total offense and 10 points on Sunday. On Saturday, the Buffalo will play without Ike Boettger, Bryan Cox Jr, Tre’Davious White and Justin Zimmer, while Efe Obada and Emmanuel Sanders are both probable.
New England’s Defense must come up big on SaturdayThe New England Patriots finished the regular season second in the NFL in points allowed at 17.8 points per game. This season the Patriots held Buffalo to just 10 points in the first game the two played but gave up 33 points in the second game between the two. New England was fourth in the NFL in total yards allowed at 310.8 yards per game and was third in takeaways with 30 but was careless with the ball as the Patriots committed 23 turnovers. The statistical leaders on defense for New England are Ja’Whaun Bentley with 109 tackles, Matthew Judon with 12.5 quarterback sacks and Andre Phillips end Kyle Dugger with four interceptions apiece.
New England scored an average of 27.2 points per game which was 6th in the NFL. The Patriots running game averaged 126.5 yd rushing which was 8th best and New England averaged 226.9 yards passing which was 14th. Overall the Patriots were 15th in total offense at 353.4 yards per game. However, versus Buffalo, New England gained 241 total yards in the first game and 288 total yards in the second meeting. Patriots quarterback Mac Jones passed for 3801 yards with 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Damien Harris rushed for a team-high 929 yards and 15 touchdowns and Jakobi Meyers, who is listed as questionable for Saturday, was the leading receiver with 866 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Bills are strong on both sides of the line of scrimmageBuffalo finished third in the NFL in scoring with an average of 28.4 points per game. Buffalo’s offense averaged 129.9 yards rushing which was sixth-best and 252.0 yards passing which was ninth-best for an average of 381.9 yards of total offense per game which was fifth. In the first game this season versus New England, Buffalo gained 230 yards of total offense and in the second game 428 yards of total offense. Quarterback Josh Allen has passed 4407 yards this season with 36 touchdowns and 15 interceptions and was the second-leading rusher with 763 yards and six touchdowns. Devin Singletary rushed for 870 yards and seven touchdowns while the leading receiver was Stefon Diggs with 1225 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Buffalo's defense finished first in the NFL in points allowed at 17.0 per game and 1st in total yards allowed at 272.8 yards per game. Buffalo was 13th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed at 109.8 yards per game and first in the NFL in passing yards allowed at 163.0 yards per game. Buffalo's defense produced 27 takeaways and the Bills offense turned the ball over 22 times. The statistical leaders on defense this season for Buffalo were Tremaine Edmunds with 108 tackles, Mario Addison with 7 quarterback sacks and Micah Hyde with five interceptions.
- Buffalo is 1-3-1 ATS in the last five following a win ATS
- New England is 8-3 ATS in the last 11
- The Patriots are 4-1 ATS in the last five on the road