Patriots

What the Bills are saying about the Patriots this week

The best of what Sean McDermott, Josh Allen, and Stefon Diggs had to say about New England this week.

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen walks off the field after an NFL divisional round playoff football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, in Kansas City, Mo. The Chiefs won 42-36 in overtime. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga) The Associated Press

Playoff hopes hang in the balance as the Patriots enter December.

The Patriots swept the Jets, but have yet to show that they can beat anyone else in the division. That’s why Thursday night’s game against Buffalo is so huge.

New England is on the playoff bubble, sitting at 6-5 and in eighth place in the AFC. They have three more opportunities against AFC East opponents, two against Buffalo and a rematch with Miami.

Both teams are ahead of the Patriots in the standings.

The Patriots are at home this week, and the Bills are expected to miss Von Miller because of an injury. This might be New England’s best remaining shot on closing the divisional gap.

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So what do the Bills have to say about the Patriots this week? Here are five things that stood out.

Bill Belichick and Josh Allen had a chat in the Bills’ locker room after last year’s playoff game.

The Bills throttled the Patriots with a 47-17 victory in last year’s wild card round of the playoffs.

After the game, Patriots coach Bill Belichick paid Josh Allen a visit in the locker room. Allen told ESPN’s Kyle Brandt that he appreciated the gesture.

“He actually came in and talked with me for a few minutes, which I thought was really admirable for him to do,” Allen said. “And I know he doesn’t do that too often. It makes you feel good, makes you feel like you’re doing something right. I’ve got a lot of respect for him.”

Josh Allen’s perspective on the Patriots’ secondary

Ranking second in both passing yards and passing touchdowns, Bills quarterback Josh Allen is in the MVP conversation.

He will face a Patriots defense that is holding opponents to an average of just under 200 yards per game, which is sixth-best among NFL teams.

“Their secondary – it’s a Patriots secondary, guys that are smart, tough football players that can play multiple spots,” Allen told reporters on Tuesday. “They play man from zone looks and zone from man looks, and I think that’s why a lot of people struggle against them. They can show you so many different things and do so many different things. So trusting our base rules, trusting my eyes and making the smart decision and living to fight another down.”

The Bills have to be ready for Rhamondre Stevenson.

At one point, the Patriots ran the ball 32 times in a row against Buffalo last December.

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While it’s not likely that they’ll do that again, it does appear that Rhamondre Stevenson will get a heavy workload with Damien Harris not expected to play due to a thigh injury.

“Tough physical running back. Hard to get down,” Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson said of Stevenson. “We’ve got to have 11 hats to the football when we tackle this guy. He creates plays on his own. He breaks tackles. He a strong runner. We’ve just got to bring our ‘A’ game.”

The Patriots defense is assembled ‘the right way’, said Sean McDermott.

New England’s defense has carried the team through a quarterback controversy and many questionable offensive performances.

“It’s been put together the right way. There’s guys up front that can handle the run by themselves at times,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said. “They’ve got physical linebackers that play downhill. They’ve got a group of cover guys that do multiple things. They matchup and do different coverage packages, looks and disguises. They do a great job.”

Divisional games in December are special.

The Patriots have a chance to prove themselves against the team that eliminated them last season.

It’s an opportunity that could end up being pivotal in the AFC playoff race.

“Obviously, big divisional rival game this week,” Bills safety Jordan Poyer said. “We’re excited to play on the road in New England. This is what NFL football is about.”

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