THE BUFFALO BILLS
Last week: 24-16 win over Dolphins
Previous three: 2-1 (Colts, Patriots, Chiefs)
2016 record: 7-9
Coach: Sean McDermott
Offensive coordinator: Rick Dennison
Defensive coordinator: Leslie Frazier
After they lost three straight including a Nathan Peterman-led 54-24 bludgeoning at the hands of the Chargers, the Bills’ season looked lost. But they got some wind back in their sails with a 16-10 win at Kansas City. The loss to the Patriots – thanks to a combination of Tyrod Taylor’s knee-buckling pick on the opening drive and a heavy dose of Gronk in the second half – was a step back. But the snow-blown win over the Colts and a 24-16 win over Miami last weekend has Buffalo holding the sixth spot in the AFC playoff race. Buffalo’s in a tie with the Ravens for that spot and has to win and hope for a Baltimore loss to keep that spot. Given the high stakes for the Bills, “the whole hood” has apparently changed its mind about needing revenge on Rob Gronkowski for his dirty hit on Tre’Davious White that led to Gronk’s one-game suspension.
- What are the greatest regular-season games of the Belichick Era?
- PERRY'S Report Card: Little things mean a lot
- QUICK SLANTS THE PODCAST: Will there be any Guerrero fallout?
The resolve of this team. After the loss to New England, they were up against it against the Colts in that blizzard and looked like they were going to lose but they survived in overtime. They then took that momentum and parlayed it against Miami with the key stat being third down. The Bills went 7 for 15 a week after Miami held the Patriots to 0 for 11 on third down. Buffalo’s also gone five for its last six scoring touchdowns on red zone trips. The flip side, they’ve allowed just eight first downs on the last 32 third downs they’ve faced and 15 of the last 57 over four games. One thing the Bills did against Miami that was impressive – sustained drives. Their touchdowns were 10 and 81, eight and 75 and eight and 80. They also came up with three picks against Jay Cutler.
LeSean McCoy was held under wraps last week (20 carries, 50 yards) and the Bills’ wide receiver crew continues to be a walking disaster. They have four catches as a group in the past two games. The Bills’ offense is not NFL-caliber at all in terms of scheme or skill personnel but they have themselves finishing at least at .500 so bless their souls for that.
The Patriots got whitewashed by the Bills last season with Jacoby Brissett as the starter – remember when the Bills tried to bum-rush Brissett before the game?...That was awesome. They also beat the Patriots and Jimmy G 17-9 in the season finale. So, they’ve won two out of their past three against backup QBs. The Patriots are coming off an emotional one last Sunday and need to move on quickly against a team that’s got a carrot dangling for it.