The New England Patriots may have their toughest test of the season in primetime this week, as Bil Belichick and Mac Jones will have to tussle with Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football. New England’s defensive depth and quality will be tested by this passing attack.
Even though Allen hasn’t been as consistent as he was last year, he is still an upper-echelon passer.
With Buffalo’s collection of quality receiving talent, look for Sean McDermott to do everything he can to get Jones and the Patriots involved in a shootout.
The Patriots have been trying to win games by dominating time of possession with a solid running game, playing mistake-free football in the passing game, and squeezing the life out of opponents with a dominant defense. Getting a lead early is integral to this style of play, and it’ll be even more important on Monday.
Allen’s splits when he is leading and tied compared to when he is trailing are startling.
Allen has proven to be less effective when playing from behind, so New England forcing the former Wyoming star to lead a comeback with his arm alone is a very prudent strategy — especially in the brutal weather we’ve been forecast.
The New England Patriots need to start fast against Buffalo.
With Buffalo’s running game remaining inconsistent, Allen will likely need to use his arm and his legs to take home the victory. While he has had some measured success against Belichick in the past, this defense is playing elite football right now. It’ll take a masterclass from Allen to put up points in this one.
Assuming Jones can help put some points on the board early against a Bills defense that is playing without one of the best defensive backs in the game in Tre’Davious White, the ground game will likely be what brings New England a seventh consecutive victory.
Damien Harris is picking up right where he left off after some injury issues, and rookie Rhamondre Stevenson has quickly emerged as an impact player despite coming into the NFL as a fourth-round pick. As solid as Buffalo’s defensive line may look, these two should be key factors in New England’s game plan.
If Belichick executes his game plan and gets out to an early lead, Allen will have to mount a comeback in frigid December weather against a truly elite secondary.
With how hot Jones has been and how poor Allen has traditionally played when trailing, the path to victory for New England is right in front of them.