Patriots vs. Bills: Top 5 Storylines to Watch in NFL Week 17

12/29/2023
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The Buffalo Bills are coming off a 24-22 win at the Los Angeles Chargers last Saturday. The game was significantly closer than the experts expected, but as the great American poet Vin Diesel once said “It doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or a mileWinning’s winning!” I’ve injected that quote into several Bills’ articles this season, but it remains true. The Bills have been playing virtual playoff games since they were 6-6, and they are 3-0 in those games, so, “Just win, baby!” – Al Davis.

Now that I’m done quoting these modern-day Bill Shakespeares, let’s turn our focus to Sunday’s home date with the New England Patriots. The Bills currently sit as 13-point favorites with an implied score of 27-14. That makes sense, with the Pats averaging 14 points per game and Buffalo’s offense having found its stride under Joe Brady. However, the Bills were a massive favorite against the Chargers, but again, just win!

With some of those numbers behind us, let’s get into my five storylines to watch as the Bills host AFC East foe New England on Sunday at 1:00.


Postseason

The New York Times playoff simulator currently has the Bills with an 89% chance to make the playoffs. A win over the Patriots pushes that number to 98%, and a loss knocks it down to 45%. A fourth straight win for the Bills puts them in a virtual lock to make the postseason and keeps them in striking distance of Miami, who plays the Ravens on Sunday, then Buffalo in Week 18.

Patriots

It’s the Patriots! I could stop this storyline right there. Anytime Buffalo plays a team that haunted it for two decades, you want a win. This year, as the paragraph above states, the game has added meaning. Also, you sure as hell don’t want to be swept by a team that can only finish the season with six wins, at the most.

MVP Push

Like the Bills in the AFC standings, Josh Allen has made a run up the MVP rankings in the last few weeks. Entering the Cowboys game, Allen was 10th, according to many betting sites. He is now up to as high as third, per those same outlets. The Bills’ signal caller trails only the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson and the 49ers’ Christian McCaffrey. Winning out and making the playoffs, or better yet, winning the AFC East, would be more evidence for Allen to win his first MVP Award.

Orchard Parked

Even if the Bills win out and earn a playoff spot, there is still a chance that is the sixth seed, and thus, the Bills would be playing their last home game of the year on Sunday. So, be LOUD, Bills Mafia, and hopefully, things fall your way and there is at least one more game in Orchard Park later this season.

Where’s Stefon

Stefon Diggs has been relatively quiet during the Bills’ three-game winning streak. Over that span, he has 13 receptions for 101 yards and no touchdowns. Now, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been important. Diggs has seen bracket coverage from most defenses, and simple math tells you if one guy is double-teamed, someone else should be free. He is also opening up the middle of the field when he goes deep and clears up the boundaries when he goes across the middle. All these things work hand-in-hand, but it would be nice for him and the Bills to get a win and have the top-five WR be a part of the box score.

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