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Bills to host Patriots on Super Wild Card weekend


The Buffalo Bills will host their Super Wild Card Weekend game against the New England Patriots at 8:15 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 15 at Highmark Stadium, setting the stage for a rubber match between the AFC East rivals after they split their regular-season series.

Buffalo clinched a second straight division title and the No. 3 seed in the AFC with a 27-10 win over the New York Jets on Sunday. New England fell to No. 6 with a 33-24 loss to Miami and Las Vegas' victory over the Los Angeles Chargers.

It will be the first playoff meeting of the Super Bowl era between the Bills and Patriots. The two teams did meet during the 1963 AFL divisional round, Buffalo's first playoff game in franchise history.

The Bills' AFC East title in 2020 ended an 11-year run atop the division for the Patriots, who missed the playoffs in their first season without quarterback Tom Brady. The Patriots rebounded in 2021 and jostled with the Bills for playoff positioning until the final week of the season.

Buffalo opened the campaign 4-1 but fell into a pattern of alternating wins and losses. New England rattled off six wins in a row heading into the first head-to-head game between the Bills and Patriots, a Monday Night Football meeting played amid 30 mile-per-hour wins in Orchard Park.

The Patriots leaned on their ground game to the tune of 222 yards and won, 14-10, despite attempting just three passes. The Bills responded three weeks later with a 33-21 victory in Foxborough in which quarterback Josh Allen totaled 378 yards and three touchdowns.

That victory was the second of four straight by the Bills to end the regular season.

The matchup pits two of the NFL's top-performing defenses against each other. The Bills finished with the No. 1 defense in terms of yards allowed (4,637), passing yards allowed (2,771), and points allowed (289). The Patriots finished second in passing yards allowed (3,181) and points allowed (303) and fourth in total yards allowed (5,284). The two defenses tied for third in the NFL with 30 turnovers apiece.

Patriots quarterback Mac Jones finished his rookie season having thrown for 3,801 yards, 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Damien Harris led the Patriots and ranked ninth in the NFL with 929 rushing yards, surpassing 100 yards in both meetings with the Bills.

Allen became the first player in NFL history to surpass 4,000 passing yards (4,407) and 750 rushing yards (763) in a single season. He passed for 314 yards and rushed for 64 more in the Week 16 win over the Patriots. Isaiah McKenzie turned in a career game, hauling in 11 receptions for 125 yards and totaling two touchdowns.

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