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NFL Playoff Preview 2021-22 Wildcard: #3 Bills vs #6 Patriots

NFL playoff preview
(Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

NFL Playoff Preview 2021-22 Wildcard: #3 Bills vs #6 Patriots

Round three anyone? In this NFL playoff preview, we’ll be taking a look at the third matchup this season between division rivals! The New England Patriots travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills. The last time New England was in Buffalo, they threw three times and won. I don’t think this week’s Saturday night showdown will follow the same type of script.

How the Bills Can Win

#1 Better Quarterback

Josh Allen is clearly better than Mac Jones, shouldn’t even be a discussion. This Buffalo offense runs through Josh Allen. He’s the driver while Mac Jones is simply along for the ride. Allen has all the tools and the Bills are seemingly trying to find new ways to piss off Bill Belichick. The combination of size and athleticism is unique, and gives Buffalo a clear edge with their signal-caller.

#2 Defense

The Buffalo Bills have the best defense in the NFL when it comes to points per game, yards per game, yards per play, first downs per game, and third-down percentage. That’s a lot to overcome for opposing offenses, and the Patriots aren’t built like a big-play offense. This defense for Buffalo gives them a massive edge.

#3 Mac Jones Cooling Off

Over the past few weeks, Mac Jones just hasn’t been playing the same. Outside of a blowout of the Jaguars, Jones hasn’t been good. In the last six games, Jones has thrown eight touchdowns to five interceptions. He’s been turning the ball over and not getting enough scores to really compensate for it. If this trend keeps up, Buffalo should win handily.

How The Patriots Can Win

#1 Bill Belichick

You wanna talk about experience? This guy has it in spades. This quick turnaround is remarkable. The Patriots “sucked” for one season, and are right back in the playoffs with the quarterback of the future. Act like you’ve been there before, and Belichick has been there before, MANY times before.

#2 Matchups

The Bills have struggled against teams that can run the ball and stick to it. They got smashed by the Colts, lost to the Titans and Patriots because of Buffalo’s inability to effectively stop the run. This matchup doesn’t work well for Buffalo, if Mac Jones can limit his mistakes and the Patriots take advantage of the run game, they can walk in and take the win.

#3 Force Josh Allen Into Mistakes

The Patriots are tied with the Bills at third best when it comes to forcing turnovers, and they rank second in forcing interceptions. Last year in the playoffs and even a little bit this year, when Josh Allen is forced to play hero ball he can walk himself into mistakes. The Patriots need to force Allen into uncomfortable situations.

The Pick

Division games are always tough to pick, and this being a playoff game further complicates it. Given the matchup advantage for the Patriots, I see them using that very wisely. Buffalo is a team that would’ve been better off facing a team like the Raiders or even the Chargers! New England simply matches up well against them, and I’m taking New England to win on the road.

Prediction: 24-21 Patriots

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