Skip to main content

Top Storylines

Presented by

Top 5 storylines for Bills at Patriots | Week 7

MicrosoftTeams-image (17)

The Bills have a chance to notch their second AFC East win of the season when they face the Patriots on Sunday. Buffalo sits at second in the AFC East, while the Patriots are last through the first six games.

Here are 5 things to know about the Week 7 matchup.

1. Another top 10 test for Buffalo's offense

Josh Allen and company will see another top 10 defense on Sunday in the Patriots. Even though New England is 1-5 through six games, they rank 10th allowing an average of 306.7 total yards per game.

That's not the only category they rank high in as they've been allowing an average of 4.8 yards per play (8th), 37.3% opponent 3rd down conversion rate (10th), 45% opponent red zone efficiency rate (7th) and have allowed only six passing touchdowns so far (tied for 8th).

In Week 7, one thing the Bills will be prioritizing is getting off to a fast start because they've only scored seven total points in the first half of the last two games.

"The last two games, we have not been able to get into that rhythm," head coach Sean McDermott said. "So, you look at the first game and we turned the ball over three or four times there. And then, we get into rhythm the next game. And after that, Washington, which was kind of back and forth. And then you come back to the Miami game and say, `Hey, that's what we're capable of.' And the last two weeks we've struggled to get into rhythm in the first half."

Offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey says finding that rhythm early and often comes down to sustaining drives and execution.

"It comes down to our execution and what we do," Dorsey shared. "When we focus on us, usually everything else kind of takes care of itself. Obviously, that starts with me, making sure we're getting off to the start we need to."

As prep for the game begins, the Bills can lean on the several positives they have going for themselves on offense. Buffalo is averaging 28.83 points per game (3rd), 374.8 total yards per game (5th), converting third downs 49.3% of the time (2nd) and scoring in the red zone 75% of the time (2nd).

"For us, it's having that confidence in what we're calling and what we're running so that we can go out and execute against whatever we're seeing," Dorsey said. "No matter what type of defense decides to do against us, we can go out and feel confident in what we're doing."

2. Going for 5-straight against New England

The Bills have a chance to win their fifth game in a row against New England on Sunday, including playoffs. This would be Buffalo's longest win streak against the Patriots since they won five consecutive games spanning from 1992 to 1994. In those last four wins, Buffalo has averaged 34.75 points per game.

Allen has thrown 13 passing touchdowns to just one interception in those four wins. The QB has also averaged a 118.5 passer rating in such games.

In his career, Allen is 6-4 against the Patriots, including playoffs. He has 23 total touchdowns in those 10 games and has had an average passer rating of 95.9. He's also won his last three starts in Foxborough.

3. Why the defense continues to shine

Through six games, Buffalo's defense has been doing a great job of keeping opponents out of the end zone and keeping the score low so that they're offense has the best chance to win.

The group has allowed only four passing touchdowns so far this season, which ties for the least in the NFL. They also kept the Giants from scoring a touchdown and held them 0 for 5 in the red zone. This relentless effort to successfully shut down offenses is thanks to the front end and back end's ability to work together.

"When our rush and coverage are working well together, I just think we're tough to score on," assistant head coach and defensive line coach Eric Washington said. "And I also think (it's) the takeaways that we've been able to get, the disruption we've been able to get against the quarterback and obviously Sean (McDermott) has done a nice job of mixing the call and the defensive concepts to keep offenses off balance a little bit. So, when we're at our best, when we're executing, when our rush is disruptive and when we're able to disrupt the timing of routes, we're just going to be tough to beat when we're executing at a high level."

They've been executing at a high level quite consistently as they're allowing an average of 14.8 points per game (3rd), 323.8 total yards per game (8th), a 76.6 passer rating (6th), 35% opponent red zone efficiency (4th), have 13 takeaways (tied for 2nd) and 24 sacks (tied for first).

They'll be taking on a Patriots offense that's averaging 12 points per game (31st) and 282.7 total yards per game (27th).

4. An injury-riddled Patriots team

While the Bills have lost a few important players so far this season, the Patriots have suffered lots of injuries as well. There were 17 players on the Patriots injury report heading into Week 6. We have yet to get an updating injury report but some will remain on it as there are several on IR and PUP.

They have nine players on the Reserve/Injured list—CB Isaiah Bolden, LB Raekwon McMillan, WR Tre Nixon, LB Matthew Judon, CB Christian Gonzalez, CB Jack Jones, CB Marcus Jones, OT Tyrone Wheatley, DT Daniel Ekuale. They also have two players on the Physically Unable to Perform list--DL Trey Flowers, ST Cody Davis.

Four players missed their last game against Vegas—WR Demario Douglas (concussion), WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (concussion), G Cole Strange (knee) and OL Riley Reiff (knee).

Five players got injured during their Week 6 game against the Raiders—DL Keion White (head), CB Jonathan Jones (knee), RB Rhamondre Stevenson (head, ankle), TE Hunter Henry (ankle), LB Josh Uche (foot).

Several starters are sprinkled across these lists, including players who got injured on Sunday or were injured heading into Sunday's game. With an injury list this long, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said they're focusing on controlling what they can control.

"The guys that are out there have an opportunity and some of them have worked hard," Belichick said on Monday to the team's media members. "And in some cases (they have) waited a while for that opportunity, so they're excited to get it. I'd like to have as many healthy players as we possibly can, that's always the goal but unfortunately every team including us deals with some players that aren't available."

5. Say goodbye to 1PM games

The Bills have two remaining 1:00 PM games left on the schedule, and both happen to be against the Patriots. After Week 7's game against New England, the Bills won't see a 1:00 PM game on their schedule for 10 weeks if you count their bye week. The next time they play a 1 PM game will be Week 17 on Sunday, December 31.

Following this week's game against the Patriots, the Bills will have three-straight games in the eight o'clock window. They'll be on Thursday Night Football, then Sunday Night Football again and finish with a Monday night game.

Between Weeks 11 to 15, Buffalo will have four games at 4:25 PM. Those four games will be separated by a bye in Week 13. Right now, their final game on the schedule is marked as TBD and is against the Dolphins. So, there's a chance the team will look back on the season only having played five games at 1 PM.

Check out the best photos of Bills fans from this week's game against the Giants. This gallery is presented by SnapDragon Apples.

Related Content