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5 things to watch for in Bills at Patriots | Week 16


With a playoff berth firmly in hand, the Bills can take care of some unfinished business in their final two regular season games. There's still a chance, an outside chance, to win the division. And part of the motivation this weekend is to try to even up the score with their long-time tormentors in New England.

Here's a look at what fans should watch for this weekend for the Bills:


It's been 24 years since Buffalo's last AFC East Crown. The Patriots have won the last 10 division titles.

And here we are in Week 16 with the division still undecided. The Bills must win their last two (Saturday at New England, next week home against the Jets) and the Patriots must lose their final two, Saturday and home again next week against the Dolphins.

And the Bills still have a remote chance of hosting a divisional round playoff game, if all that happens above and the Chiefs falter.

It's unlikely, but possible. And it's a year ahead of schedule, according to Pete Prisco, Senior NFL Columnist for CBS He told One Bills Live that he predicted months ago the Bills would win the division in 2020.

"I predicted they would win the division next year – that was my prediction," Prisco said. "I said they get to the playoffs this year and win the division next year. I still think that's going to happen."

Prisco says a Buffalo win over New England would signify a new pecking order in the division.

"It's the changing of the guard," he said. "They will be the best team in the division next year."


New England's 11-3 record has them among the league leaders and its defense is No. 1 in the NFL. But the Patriots offense has fallen off significantly in the last month and a half.

After averaging 31 points per game in the first eight games this year, New England has averaged 20 points in the last six. They won three and lost three of those six

Tom Brady's passer rating in the last six games, 75.7, is the lowest among quarterbacks who've started five or more games since week nine. His completion percentage in those games was 54 percent and he's averaged 5.4 yards per pass attempt.

It's a fair question. At age 42, if Brady hits the wall, is this what it looks like? Some more answers could be on display Saturday.


Second-year quarterback Josh Allen has stats going into week 16 that are remarkably similar to Brady's this year. And as he gets set for his 26th NFL start, Allen is approaching another milestone.

He needs 50 yards passing this week to hit 5,000 passing yards in his career. Allen would join Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton as the only players in NFL history to reach 5,000 career passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in fewer than 30 games.


It might be the most intriguing matchup of the game and they won't go head-to-head. But Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White and Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore will be on the Foxboro field with each recognized as elite talents at the position. White was just named to his first Pro Bowl team and Gilmore is going to his third Pro Bowl game.

ESPN NFL Insider Field Yates says they're the best two cornerbacks in the league.

"I don't think it's close right now. I'm not even sure who the third best cornerback in football is right now," Yates told One Bills Live. "I think that Tre'Davious and Stephon have set themselves up as the top two cornerbacks in football. They get things done in slightly different ways, but the production has been incredible for both of them."

"Tre'Davious' instincts are just going to absolutely always be a threat," Yates continued. "He knows route concepts better than wide receivers know them sometimes. He's been awesome. Stephon Gilmore has been brilliant as well. The two of them are the two best and most dominant cornerbacks in football in my opinion."


They're the top two defenses in the NFL in points allowed — New England gives up 13.6 points per game, the Bills give up 15.8. And it's the fourth straight game the Bills have faced a top-10 defense.

It makes you wonder if the predictions of an NFL future filled with high-scoring run-up-the-score offensive firepower might be off the mark.

Mike Tirico of NBC Sports, who will call play-by-play of the Bills-New England matchup Saturday, says defense still matters a great deal.

"Even though we love offense, defense is still important," Tirico told One Bills Live Wednesday. "If you can't score, you can't win. That's part of what you're seeing here in Buffalo — the defense gives the offense a base to play smart, complimentary football. Now that Josh Allen has learned, he's a different quarterback than what he was back in week four. He's taking care of the ball better. They've got a complimentary run game. Now, this is working. The base of this defense gives you a chance every week, and it travels."

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