Jerod Mayo called Patriots-Bills a ‘plastic bag game.’ Here’s why.

"Either you win and you’re in the playoffs, or you lose and you go home."

Jerod Mayo is looking to avoid packing his things up for good this season on Sunday. Christian Petersen/Getty Images

For roughly two decades in Foxborough, the Patriots were accustomed to hat and T-shirt games, signifying that they had won the AFC East for the umpteenth time or won another AFC title.

Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo revealed what the opposite of a hat and T-shirt game is on Friday. As New England nearly has a must-win in order to reach the playoffs, Mayo said that the Patriots are avoiding a “plastic bag game” against the Bills.

“Honestly, you win and you’re in, and that’s the mentality,” Mayo said. “There’s no speech or anything that a coach can give you. Either you win and you’re in the playoffs, or you lose and you go home. Plastic bag game.”

Mayo further explained why the team calls it a “plastic bag game.”


“That means if you lose, you get a big plastic trash bag,” Mayo said, insinuating that players will gather their belongings and place them in a bag as they depart for the season. “Trash bag game.”

At 8-8, the Patriots control their own destiny to earn the No. 7 seed in the AFC playoffs. While a win would be the easiest way for them to get into the playoffs, they don’t need to win in order to reach the postseason. If the Patriots fall to the Bills, which many are predicting, they can still make the playoffs if the Dolphins lose to the Jets, the Steelers lose to the Browns, and the Jaguars beat the Titans.

The Patriots’ playoff stakes aren’t the only notable headline entering Sunday’s game. The Bills will play host less than a week after safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest during their game against the Bengals on Monday night. Hamlin’s condition has progressed in recent days, with the safety having his breathing tube removed Friday morning before FaceTiming with his Bills teammates.

There’s also the fact that the Patriots have struggled against the Bills in recent seasons. They’re 1-5 in their last six meetings with the Bills, losing by multiple scores in four of those games.


That’s just part of the reason why Mayo expects “an intense environment” in Buffalo on Sunday.

“I always say going down to Buffalo is like playing in an SEC stadium,” Mayo said. “So, it’s definitely going to be tough.”


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