The Buffalo Bills enter Week 13 coming off of another win in Detroit, this time against the home standing Lions 28-25 on Thanksgiving. The latest victory puts Buffalo at 8-3 on the year, tied with Miami for first place in the AFC East and a game behind the AFC Leading Chiefs. Next up for the Bills is another Thursday game as they visit fellow New England, their fellow AFC East foe. A win versus the Patriots would oddly be Buffalo’s first divisional win of the season. It would also mark three straight wins for the Bills as we enter the stretch run. Can they make it three straight? Here are the top five things I believe Buffalo needs to do to earn another win on the road.
Josh Allen had one of the greatest games of his career and arguably the best QB performance in the playoffs the last time he faced New England. The Bills topped the Pats 47-17 behind 308 yards, five touchdowns, on 84% passing from Allen. According to CBS Sports, Allen has had three games against New England where he went for over 300 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. He is the only human to ever do that more than once. It sounds simple, but letting Josh be Josh might be the easiest path to victory on Thursday.
The Patriots roster isn’t exactly flush with talent, but they have arguably the best edge rusher in the league in Matthew Judon. Keeping the three-time pro bowler off of Josh Allen will be key. Judon currently leads the NFL in sacks with 13, one better than Cowboys star Micah Parsons. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), Judon also has 11 hits, 25 hurries, and a win percentage over 16. Regardless of whether Dion Dawkins can play or not, slowing down Judon needs to be something the Bills’ pass blockers set their sights on.
To say Mac Jones has struggled in his career against Buffalo would be an understatement. In his two career regular season starts, Jones has a passer rating south of 35 with just 164 yards passing and two touchdowns. His one playoff start versus Buffalo, the one where Josh Allen went Captain Insano, Jones had two touchdowns and two picks on 232 yards passing. If the Bills’ offense wants to let Josh be Josh, the defense wants to let Mac be Mac.
Isaiah McKenzie had a career game last year against New England in a 33-21 Buffalo win. The scrappy slot receiver caught 11 of 12 targets for 125 yards and a touchdown in a game that made him a legend with Bills Mafia. I’m not saying McKenzie needs to duplicate that performance, but it would be nice to see Ken Dorsey start to work in other weapons besides Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis, and Dawson Knox into the passing game. Brandon Beane went out and drafted Khalil Shakir and James Cook to help in that department as well as trading for Nyheim Hines. Find ways to scheme those guys into the game plan and let Josh Allen work his magic.
All Gas, No Brakes
The Bills’ offense is built to score… a lot! The Patriots’ offense is not designed in a manner to play catch up. Buffalo needs to go out and rack up as many points as possible then watch the turnovers flow as Mac Jones continues his struggles against the Bills. I know Von Miller is out, but the rest of the line is getting healthy. Beane used high draft capital to bolster the blitzers. Get a lead and let the dogs hunt. This sounds so simple, but if they execute it is a party in Orchard Park and all around Western New York Thursday night.