Let’s be clear, the New England Patriots season is on the line. I’m not being a sensationalist, if the Patriots lose to the Bills on Sunday their season is as good as over. A loss will completely change the mindset of Patriots fans. Since the day New England drafted Drew Bledsoe, Patriots fans have been focused on the wins and the playoffs. If New England loses on Sunday, the mindset will change, and every win will be a punch to the Trevor Lawrence sweepstake, and the thought of Patriots fans, loyals and bandwagons alike, wishing for a loss, is something that could be a lot for people to stomach.
With all of that in mind, it would be much better if the Patriots won on Sunday, and the fan base could go back to talking about the playoffs. I guess the only question is, do the Patriots have a chance to win the game?
Offensively, the Patriots need to catch the Bills from surprise. Bernd Buchmasser from Pats Pulpit made a compelling argument that the Patriots can fix their dreadful passing game by throwing the football more. At first the theory seems a little out of left field, but the more you think about it the more sense it makes.
The Buffalo Bills have the 21st first ranked defense in the NFL, and the New England Patriots have the 4th best run offense in the NFL. On the other side, the Bills have the 15th best pass defense in the NFL, while the Patriots sit near the bottom of the league with the 28th worst passing offense in the league. Conventional wisdom would tell you that the Patriots should run the ball down the Bills throat. But isn’t that exactly what the Bills will be expecting, and wouldn’t they base all of their preparation this week to stopping the run?
I would expect the Bills to completely sellout for the run, and that leaves the Patriots in a position to beat them in the air. As Buchmasser said, instead of setting up the pass by running the football, set up the run by passing the ball. With Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry both set to miss the game on Sunday, the Patriots are actually in a prime position to surprise the Bills.
I would like to see the Patriots use some players who haven’t had a big part of the offense so far this season, or use guys in a different way. I would like to see Rex Burkhead and Damien Harris more involved in the pass game. Lining them up in run and pass plays and using them will make the Patriots unpredictable, and that’s the only way this offense is going to beat anybody. I would also like to see JJ Taylor involved in the pass game and the run game. He has shown sparks this season, and getting him involved could be a huge impact. Jakobi Meyers and Isaiah Zuber have had very limited action this season, but they produce whenever they’re involved, so I would love to see Josh McDaniels figure out a way to get them into the game plan.
Defensively it is very simple. You have a great pass offense against a great passing defense, and terrible run game versus a terrible run defense. The Patriots defense is good enough to slow down or even stop the Bills passing game with a good game plan and perfect execution. But the only way that works is to make the Bills one dimensional. If the Patriots 27th worst run defense allows the Bills 29th worst run game to move the football on the ground, the Patriots don’t have a chance.
Since the day New England drafted Drew Bledsoe, Patriots fans have been focused on the wins and the playoffs. If New England loses on Sunday, the mindset will change, and every win will be a punch to the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakeLast modified: October 30, 2020