Analysis, Commentary

Bills Can’t Overlook Pats

Featured Photo Credit: © Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports via, LLC.

As I See It.

Let’s begin by hoping everybody enjoyed a Merry Christmas or Happy Holiday, as the Bills nerve shattering 24-22 win at the LA Chargers kept the Bills playoffs hopes very much alive. The 9-6 Bills are 12 point favorites over the NE Patriots Sunday at Highmark Stadium, but the pesky Pats clearly aren’t running for the bus just yet. Their 26-23 upset win at Denver actually did the Bills a favor in a couple ways. It pretty much ends the possibility of a tie with the Broncos for a Wild Card spot, as the Broncos would have the tiebreaker with that improbable win over the Bills, and it also reminds the Bills they can’t look ahead.

At all.

Right here I’d like to thank my sponsors:

Atwal Eye Care, which did an amazing job on my cataract surgery last summer.

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GlobalVendingGroup of Buffalo, which is sending book vending machines to schools over the world to improve child literacy.

Back to the Patriots, dealing with all kinds of speculation about Bill Belichick’s future as they stumble into OP with a 4-11 record. Speculation about the head coach can go a couple directions. In Sean McDermott’s case, some negative reports on his future in Buffalo seemed to galvanize the team, which is clearly in full support of their HC. Do the Pats have similar “love” for mumblin’ Bill?

The only motivation the Patriots need really, is to not stink it up on the field to jeopardize their NFL future. The pay is pretty good I hear, and the motivation to continue the lifestyle is pretty powerful. In other words, Pats players don’t give a rat’s patootie about their NFL draft position.

Maybe I’m whistling past the graveyard here, but I think the close win on the road against a fired up Chargers team was a plus. The Bills six losses have all been by 6 points or less, and a narrow win on the road is a positive.

It all starts and ends with Josh Allen, and even though he tossed another ball to the other team, his play was terrific. Not perfect by any means, but he made the plays when it mattered. The numbers weren’t impressive, as Allen hit 15-21 for 237 yards and a TD with an INT. He also had just 15 yards rushing on 5 carries, but 2 of them were TD’s. You can say all you want about how short TD runs aren’t a big deal, but that just isn’t true. The Bills are #1 in the NFL on third down, and add that to Allen’s red zone presence, and defensive coordinators go crazy.

Allen now has 27 TD passes with 15 INTs, but he also has produced 13 rushing TD’s, and many of them are from five yards out or more. That’s 40 total touchdowns, which is easily atop the NFL. The 49ers Brock Purdy, projected as the next Tom Brady by some, had a four INT meltdown against the Ravens in a 33-19 loss. Purdy’s MVP chances plummeted, while Lamar Jackson helped his own case to lead the AFC’s best team. He threw for 252 yards and 2 TD’s, and a 30 yard run helped put the game away for the Ravens. But. Jackson isn’t even in the same area code with Allen, with 19 TD passes and 5 rushing scores. That’s 24 total. Allen with 40? Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs appear to be in free fall at the moment.


Photo by © Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports via, LLC.

One obvious but huge factor in the Bills win at LA, was the reappearance of one Gabe Davis. Welcome back Gabe! His fingertip grab and run for a 57 yard TD put the Bills back in the game after they fell behind 10-0. The play wasn’t drawn up that way, but Allen, under pressure, rolled right and Davis turned upfield. The perfect throw on the run is the kind we almost take for granted from #17. Davis, despite a quiet stretch that included some zero catch games, now has 725 yards and 7 TD’s. Stefon Diggs with 8 TD’s and 1,070 remains the #1 WR, although teams are focusing on him more than ever. Davis’ play may change that.

Speaking of Diggs, it’s a waste of time trying to decipher body language to figure out “what’s wrong” with Diggs? He’s clearly a key cog in the machine, and will be again as the stakes get higher. He’s fine.

A surprising aspect of this game to me, was that James Cook had no receiving targets at all. Although Cook has now gone over 1,000 yards rushing, his two fumbles aren’t forgotten. The Bills recovered one of them, but turnovers nearly bit the Bills behind. When you’re 0-3 in turnovers, you lose 95% of the time.

Interesting that McDermott kept with Cook this time around, unlike Cook’s rookie year when he was sidelined for games after an opening fumble. This is a tough game for Cook, as the Pats are the NFL’s second best team against the run.

So now it’s really interesting. The Bills MUST hold serve against the Pats at home, and then become Ravens fans, as the Ravens host the Dolphins. The Ravens are only 3 1/2 point favorites, but if they knock off the Fins and the Bills top the Pats, the Bills could actually be playing for the AFC East Division title the final week in South Florida.

But, while it’s fun for US to speculate, the Bills just have to take care of business vs NE.

We’ve focused on the offense, but some final thoughts on the Bills D, which is coming together nicely. DT Ed Oliver is becoming a real force inside. DT DaQuan Jones might be active this week. Von Miller is finally starting to bother QBs. The Bills D is now 4th in the NFL in points allowed at 18.4.

Everything the Bills want, is right here in front of them.

Editor’s babble: Hope everyone reading this had a very Merry Christmas! We are grateful to Ed Kilgore for his many contributions to our blog. You can also find Ed on Xwitter @Kilgore2Ed. is sponsored by 26 Shirts

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1 thought on “Bills Can’t Overlook Pats”

  1. Diggs may not currently have lots of catches and yards, but his very presence on the field makes other teams double cover him. This in turn, allows one on one for the other receivers.
    Go Bills!

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