1 - McCoy’s got good history vs. Pats
For Bills running back, LeSean McCoy, the 2017 season hasn’t been as consistent as he’d like. But, New England comes to Buffalo on Sunday, and they’ve struggled at stopping the run this year. McCoy’s had plenty of success against the Patriots since joining the Bills. Week 13 presents a good opportunity for the feature back.
“I could be more consistent; up and down,” said McCoy of his 2017 season thus far. “Some games [I was] lights out, and other games, it’s kind of, ‘Ahh.’ Some plays, I’m doing really, really well [and] some plays I’m not.”
McCoy had 22 carries for 49 yards against the Chiefs in Week 12. This Sunday could very well be a bounce-back game for him. The Patriots rank last in the NFL in yards per carry average against giving up almost five yards per rush (4.9). They also allow 115.1 rushing yards per game, ranking 22nd in the league.
Those defensive rushing stats from this season appear favorable for McCoy. Couple that with the fact that he’s still been extremely productive facing the Patriots in past years, and the odds are good he fares well on Sunday.
McCoy has 100-plus scrimmage yards in three-straight games against New England. That total is the most by any running back in the league against the Patriots over the last five seasons.
On Sep. 20, 2015, McCoy had 89 rushing yards and 27 receiving, totaling 116 yards from scrimmage. Nov. 23, 2015, he had 82 yards on the ground and 41 through the air, giving him 123 yards from scrimmage. Most recently, on Oct. 2, 2016, he went for 70 yards rushing and 38 receiving, a combined 108 yards from scrimmage.
McCoy will look to shake off his disappointment from last week and continue his typical production against the Pats. He knows the significance this game holds for a multitude of reasons.
“It’s a different week. I think we have the same mindset of coming in, preparing hard the same way,” he said. “It’s something a little special. You ask the local neighbor about the Patriots, they’ll say it’s a must win type of game. That feeling that they want to beat them. It’s always, I think, something special with the Patriots.”
2 - Bills know points are what matter vs. New England
The Bills managed to win in Week 12 against the Chiefs, but they left some points on the board in the process. With the Patriots coming to town in Week 13, it will be important to put up touchdowns rather than field goals knowing New England’s firepower.
Last Sunday, kicker Stephen Hauschka accounted for 10 of the team’s 16 points. He was three-for-four on field goals and one-for-one on extra points. Hauschka’s a weapon, but the Bills can’t settle for field goals against the Patriots.
“We have to score points,” quarterback Tyrod Taylor said. “Whether it’s being more aggressive [or not]. First and foremost, staying on the field on third downs and finishing in the red zone with 7’s versus 3’s. Touchdowns are definitely going to be key to beating this team.”
The Bills have fared pretty well in the red zone this season. Their red zone touchdown percentage (58.6) ranks seventh in the NFL. The offense has to replicate or surpass those numbers to have success on Sunday. The Patriots rank third in the NFL with 29.5 points per game.
“Yeah, we have to capitalize. A lot of plays last week we left some meat on the bone and we didn’t get the total amount of yards we should’ve got on a lot of plays,” said running back LeSean McCoy. “This week is going to be the same thing as far as capitalizing on the plays. Stay on the field, convert, make the downs early manageable, second-and-five, things like that. They know they’ve got Tom [Brady], so he bails them out a lot.”
Buffalo did enough to squeak by Kansas City last week. Head coach, Sean McDermott, is looking for improvement in Week 13 to knock off the 9-2 Patriots.
“We all have to play better. We all have to coach better,” said McDermott. “If we play like we did last week, if I coach like I did last week, we won’t be good enough to win this week.”
3 - White rises in Rookie of the Year rankings
After having an interception to secure Sunday’s 16-10 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, cornerback Tre’Davious White has moved up in the Rookie of the Year rankings.
According to Pro Football Focus, White’s now second in the rookie rankings through Week 12. Prior to Week 12, White was third and the Chiefs Kareem Hunt was second. After Buffalo’s defense humbled Hunt for his lowest rushing total of the season, White jumped him in the rankings.
White passes Kareem Hunt in this week’s update to reclaim the second spot on this list for the first time since Week Six.
White’s overall grade for the season now ranks seventh among all cornerbacks and sits just below that illustrious elite level after he posted an 84.1 overall grade against Kansas City - his sixth game over 80.0 this season.
The former first-round pick has been incredibly consistent as a rookie, finishing just one game all year with an overall grade south of 70.0 and he’s been one of the very best in football when it comes to breaking up passes.
White, who grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana, where his high school dropout rate is around 60-percent. He went on to graduate and play four years of football at Louisiana State University. Being named Rookie of the Year would mean the world for him hometown.
“Ultimately, it’s not about me,” White said. “I want to do things like that because of the people where I’m from. Things like that don’t happen. For me to be able to do it, it would basically be for my hometown and neighborhood.”
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