Bills vs. Patriots: Top 5 Storylines to Watch in NFL Week 13

11/29/2022
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The Buffalo Bills enter Week 13 coming off a pair of wins in Detroit in what can only be described as a very abnormal week. The 28-25 Thanksgiving day win over the Lions moves Buffalo to 8-3 on the season and keeps it tied with Miami and a game back of Kansas City in the AFC standings. The Bills now turn their attention to another Thursday game as they visit division rival New England in primetime. With that, here are five storylines to keep an eye on when things kick off Thursday night up in Foxborough.

Division Win

In what can only be described as one of the weirdest stats of the 2022 season so far, the Bills have yet to win a game inside the AFC East. Buffalo sits at 0-2 in the division with losses to Miami and New York. Its winless mark in divisional games is only matched in the AFC by Denver. Let’s be honest, “Broncos Country, Let’s Ride” isn’t a thing you want to be associated with entering Week 13. The Bills can change all that with a win in New England on Thursday. A victory would not only get them their first AFC East win but keep them charging toward the number one seed in the AFC.

Allen’s Excellence

For nearly two decades, the Bills had to enter each game against New England knowing they were in a deficit at the quarterback position. That has changed over the last few meetings with Josh Allen displaying a dominance over the Patriots we haven’t seen this century. In his last game versus the Pats, Allen was darn near flawless. The quarterback put up 308 yards with five touchdowns on 84% completions in a 47-17 playoff win. That win is the cherry on top of a hell of a sundae over the last two seasons. Allen has led the Bills to a 4-1 mark while scoring roughly 30 points per game. In those five games, Allen has put up 13 passing touchdowns to just one pick and added another TD on the ground. It goes without saying, but Bills Mafia would love to see this trend continue Thursday and beyond.

New Faces

Buffalo has made several moves in the last few weeks to try to strengthen a roster that has seen some cracks. Brandon Beane and company traded for running back Nyheim Hines and safety Dean Marlowe. They signed corner Xavier Rhodes to the practice squad and elevated him to the 53-man roster earlier this week. Former Bills linebacker AJ Klein was brought back before the Lions game and went on to play every defensive snap in the Thanksgiving showdown. That’s a lot of important moving pieces for a team this late in the season … but wait, there’s more. The Bills also brought back wide receiver John “Smoke” Brown to the practice squad on Sunday. Brown was once a productive piece of the Bills’ offense, catching 105 passes for over 1,500 yards over his two seasons in Buffalo (2019-2020). Teams are always tinkering with the bottom of their roster, but many of these moves have been out of necessity, not just trying things.

Getting Healthy

A lot of the moves listed above were due to the fact that the Bills have been hit with a slew of injuries this season, a problem that was a strength the last few years. We knew they would be without All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious White for a large chunk of the season, so it was great seeing him come back on Thanksgiving, almost a year to the day he tore his ACL. The Bills will be without two other All-Pros for a chunk of this season, if not all of it, in safety Micah Hyde and edge rusher Von Miller, who are working through neck and knee injuries, respectively.

Okay, that’s all the bad news, here is the good news. Things are trending towards Buffalo having Tremaine Edmunds, AJ Epenesa, Mitch Morse, and Greg Rousseau back for their divisional showdown with New England. The big one, literally, to keep an eye on over the next couple of days is tackle Dion Dawkins. The Patriots’ best player is arguably pass rusher Matthew Judon. That makes Dawkins that much more valuable.

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Mini Bye

After the Bills finish up their game in Foxborough, they will get ten days off before they host the Jets Sunday, December 11th. The week and a half will give Buffalo a chance to better acclimate all the new faces, as well as a chance to heal several of the aforementioned wounds. It’s not a full-blown week off, but an extra few days this time of year can’t be overlooked.

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