New England vs Buffalo Preview
January 15, 8:15 pm ET, Highmark Stadium, Orchard Park, NY
New England- 6 Seed (AFC East) 10-7 overall
Buffalo- 3 Seed (AFC East) 11-6 overall
Why New England will win-
Head coach Bill Belichick has a 19-3 career record against Buffalo including 14-10 win in Orchard Park on December 6th in which QB Mac Jones only attempted 3 passes. The Patriots have proven they can run the ball on the Bills racking up 371 yards in the 2 meetings so far this year. The RB duo of Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson will need to come up big again to take the pressure off Jones who makes his first career playoff start on the road.
Why Buffalo will win-
Did the Patriots peak too early? After winning 7 straight they have lost 3 of 4 limping into the playoffs. Bills QB Josh Allen on the other hand has plenty of postseason experience guiding the team to the playoffs in 3 straight seasons and reaching the AFC title last year. Allen turned in an impressive performance in a 33-21 win at New England on December 26th passing for 314 yards and 3 touchdowns while also rushing for 64 yards. The Patriots will be without lineman Isaiah Wynn and Harris who has rushed for 214 yards and 4 touchdowns in the 2 meetings against the Bills is listed as questionable with a hamstring injury
Key to the Game-
Does Mac Jones protect the football? During the Patriots 7 game winning streak Jones threw just 2 interceptions in 173 pass attempts. In the past 4 games he has thrown 5 interceptions with the Patriots losing 3 of them. The Bills defense is tied for 3rd in the NFL with 19 interceptions on the year and will be looking for more against the rookie QB.
Eye Test Analytics Predicted Score- Buffalo by 4.28 points