ROUND 1: Patriots shuffle off to Buffalo

DJnVa

Dorito Dawg
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2010
46,585
Buffalo opening as a 4/4.5 point favorite. Seems fair.

This is going to be a tough, tough game. Hopefully the Bills will continue to struggle to run the ball and Pats can work to contain Allen's scrambling and Mac and the offense can sustain a few drives.

Saturday night looks pretty cold--16 degrees, with winds around 10 mph.
 

Captaincoop

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
12,927
Santa Monica, CA
Not optimistic at all either, but this is the game I wanted as a fan. If we were playing Cincy it would be relief if we won, disappointment if we lost. Winning in Buffalo after the events of this season would be immense for the team moving forward.
 

Ferm Sheller

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 5, 2007
13,567
Even if I didn't think the Pats had a good chance, I'd say any given Sunday, Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, or Thursday. I think it's going to be a good game that comes down to a FG, one way or the other. I guess I'll say, Pats 24-21.
 

Saints Rest

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
I actually think this is the worst matchup for the Pats among playoff teams, unless Bad Josh Allen shows up (which has been pretty rare the last two years).

I think the Bills have a huge advantage in the passing game, so wind is the only thing that can mitigate that.

I don't think the temp matters, but wind is a different issue (as we saw in the first NEP/BUF game this year). I remember Brady saying once, years ago, that wind is the only condition that impacts him (similar to pro golfers).
 

DJnVa

Dorito Dawg
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2010
46,585
Winning in Buffalo after the events of this season would be immense for the team moving forward.
By the same token, outside of how much it would suck next weekend, Buffalo is a good team. It's a good measuring stick for what we need to do next season so we're hosting this game.

But, if we get *bad* Josh Allen--the one that showed up in Atlanta recently, then one never knows.
 

wiffleballhero

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 28, 2009
3,492
In the simulacrum
I hope Mac gets outside throwing the ball over the next couple days so he has a little bit more feel for throwing in the cold. Looks too warm at the end of the week to be much use for replicating Buffalo.
 

CantKeepmedown

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
2,291
Portland, ME
I don't see much of a reason to be optimistic seeing how they've played 3 out of the past 4 weeks. But they've been in every game this season. Withstand that initial emotion and hopefully score first. This team seemingly cannot play from behind.

And yes, hope for bad Josh Allen.
 

Silverdude2167

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 9, 2006
3,613
Amstredam
The Pats can win this game, but they can not beat themselves which is the reason for their last 3 losses.

The Bills really have not been playing great outside the Pats game recently, if they had faced better teams they probably would have lost once or twice (assuming they played the same).

The big question is going to be what Josh Allen is going to show up

The Pats game (30/47 64%, 314 yards, 3/0 TD/INT, 0 Sacks)

or the 3 other games (54/105 51%, 190 yards, 1.67/1.33 TD/INT, 1.3 Sacks)

Falcons game (11/26 42%, 120 yards, 0/3 TD/INT, 0 Sacks)
Panthers game (19/34 56%, 210 yards, 3/1 TD/INT, 4 Sacks)
Jets game (24/45, 239 53%, 2/0 TD/INT, 0 Sacks)

So the falcons game was the worst, but if we see any of those stat lines against the Pats and we might be in business.
 

Mystic Merlin

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 21, 2007
39,405
Hartford, CT
I actually think this is the worst matchup for the Pats among playoff teams, unless Bad Josh Allen shows up (which has been pretty rare the last two years).

I think the Bills have a huge advantage in the passing game, so wind is the only thing that can mitigate that.

I don't think the temp matters, but wind is a different issue (as we saw in the first NEP/BUF game this year). I remember Brady saying once, years ago, that wind is the only condition that impacts him (similar to pro golfers).
Define ‘rare.’ He’s had, conservatively, five poor games this season, including one v ATL a few weeks ago.

He - like his team - is fairly erratic given his talent level and experience.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 2, 2006
20,258
Philadelphia
I wouldn't predict a Patriots victory but I feel good about us competing hard in a close game and having a chance to win if we minimize mistakes.

Josh Allen is really really good but I like the idea of BB having a third look at an offense and I am pretty confident that we'll have a very different defensive gameplan than the shit we served up at home a few weeks ago. We won't stop him but I think we'll be a lot more competitive, throw some new coverage wrinkles at him, etc. To me it seemed like in the second Bills game we got away from some of the zone schemes that had been very successful earlier in the season, maybe because we wrongly thought we could successful man up against their depleted WR group, so I wouldn't be surprised to see us move back in that direction.

I have no idea what to expect from Mac in this game but I'm excited to find out.
 

Ferm Sheller

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 5, 2007
13,567
I actually think this is the worst matchup for the Pats among playoff teams, unless Bad Josh Allen shows up (which has been pretty rare the last two years).

I think the Bills have a huge advantage in the passing game, so wind is the only thing that can mitigate that.

I don't think the temp matters, but wind is a different issue (as we saw in the first NEP/BUF game this year). I remember Brady saying once, years ago, that wind is the only condition that impacts him (similar to pro golfers).
Or winning the turnover battle and/or making some big third down stuffs on D and/or making some big special teams plays and/or running the ball down their throats and shortening the game by dominating time of possession . . .
 

Ferm Sheller

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 5, 2007
13,567
Limit Buffalo's number of possessions by controlling TOP and win the turnover battle (or at least don't lose it). Easier said than done, but there's your simple recipe.
 

greek_gawd_of_walks

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 14, 2009
7,944
Wiscansin, by way of Attleboro
In three of the last four, the Pats found themselves down by multiple scores in the first half. Twice facing 17-0 deficits (one which grew to 20-0 against the Colts by the third). If they do that in Buffalo this weekend, they will absolutely get themselves blown off the field. It's well-documented that this is not a team that is really built to play from behind, but when you get into three score territory, very few teams are equipped on both sides of the ball to make that sort of a comeback, and the Pats have faced these holes with increasing regularity.

In my eyes. Jones can't have any turnovers. When throwing, they need to run a ton of crossers over the middle and keep him from throwing those "long" short passes towards the sidelines, especially if it's windy. Keep it simple. Set up some screens early. It goes without saying the trio of Harris, Stevenson and Bolden have to provide the power along with strong blocking up front.

Defensively, it's kind of hold-your-breath. Allen seems like he could take off at any moment for a 60 yarderand the Pats would have zero ability to stop it. Hopefully they have Dugger back and he's able to keep his eyes in the backfield a lot of the time. The dino linebackers really have no ability to get Allen in any sort of space. Praying that Barmore is somehow able to go, but I'll simply settle for avoiding a major injury and having a full offseason in which he can work and continue to improve. They also need Judon to play like the difference-maker he was in the 75% of the season. Not sure how you attack Allen as the kind of edge rusher Judon is. Maybe twist him back to the inside? Seems like any time you get too far up field from the outside, Allen is going to escape and make a play with his arms or legs outside the pocket.

Really hope this thing is closer than it's playing out in my mind. Break my heart in the fourth, don't dash my dreams in the first.
 

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
22,518
In three of the last four, the Pats found themselves down by multiple scores in the first half. Twice facing 17-0 deficits (one which grew to 20-0 against the Colts by the third). If they do that in Buffalo this weekend, they will absolutely get themselves blown off the field. It's well-documented that this is not a team that is really built to play from behind, but when you get into three score territory, very few teams are equipped on both sides of the ball to make that sort of a comeback, and the Pats have faced these holes with increasing regularity.
Maybe take the opening kickoff this week if they win the toss?
 

rodderick

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 24, 2009
9,069
Belo Horizonte - Brazil
Pats can win this, but they need to be really clean to start off the game and not fall behind early. My fear is the coaching staff being ultra conservative with this mentality and hoping for a low scoring game that could be blown open at any time given Allen's playmaking ability. Just keep it a dogfight and have Mac make enough plays to win it, but I don't want this game in his hands.
 

Captaincoop

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
12,927
Santa Monica, CA
In three of the last four, the Pats found themselves down by multiple scores in the first half. Twice facing 17-0 deficits (one which grew to 20-0 against the Colts by the third). If they do that in Buffalo this weekend, they will absolutely get themselves blown off the field. It's well-documented that this is not a team that is really built to play from behind, but when you get into three score territory, very few teams are equipped on both sides of the ball to make that sort of a comeback, and the Pats have faced these holes with increasing regularity.

In my eyes. Jones can't have any turnovers. When throwing, they need to run a ton of crossers over the middle and keep him from throwing those "long" short passes towards the sidelines, especially if it's windy. Keep it simple. Set up some screens early. It goes without saying the trio of Harris, Stevenson and Bolden have to provide the power along with strong blocking up front.

Defensively, it's kind of hold-your-breath. Allen seems like he could take off at any moment for a 60 yarderand the Pats would have zero ability to stop it. Hopefully they have Dugger back and he's able to keep his eyes in the backfield a lot of the time. The dino linebackers really have no ability to get Allen in any sort of space. Praying that Barmore is somehow able to go, but I'll simply settle for avoiding a major injury and having a full offseason in which he can work and continue to improve. They also need Judon to play like the difference-maker he was in the 75% of the season. Not sure how you attack Allen as the kind of edge rusher Judon is. Maybe twist him back to the inside? Seems like any time you get too far up field from the outside, Allen is going to escape and make a play with his arms or legs outside the pocket.

Really hope this thing is closer than it's playing out in my mind. Break my heart in the fourth, don't dash my dreams in the first.
It can't be worse than this weekend, when the game was effectively over after 18 minutes of real time.
 

Ralphwiggum

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Jun 27, 2012
8,311
Needham, MA
Yeah step one is avoiding being behind by double digits in the first half. If that happens, it is pretty much over.

I'm most worried about the defense. They have been pushed around three of the last four games with their only good performance against the shitty Jags.
 

jose melendez

Earl of Acie
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Oct 23, 2003
26,404
Washington DC
The best news for us is that, except for Allen, the Bills can't run the ball, and our run defense has been abysmal.

I'm not super optimistic, but a win wouldn't be stunning.
 

Ferm Sheller

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 5, 2007
13,567
Maybe take the opening kickoff this week if they win the toss?
I was thinking this, too. Nothing worse than getting the ball for the first time down 7-0 with four minutes left in the first (and then going three and out, or worse, turning the ball over).
 

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
22,518
I was thinking this, too. Nothing worse than getting the ball for the first time down 7-0 with four minutes left in the first (and then going three and out, or worse, turning the ball over).
Totally off the top of my head, I wonder if BB wants defense first not because the defense is so great, but because it gives him an early chance to figure out what adjustments need to be made. [/I know you cant do this] If you take away the glaring errors for which this team has very little margin[/I know you cant do this], it's a different game.
 

ShaneTrot

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Nov 17, 2002
5,483
Overland Park, KS
If Allen goes off like last time, they are probably doomed. I just would like to see them play a clean game, you just cannot keep losing the TO battle against decent teams and expect to win. They are -6 in their last three losses. I would also appreciate not having to worry about something awful happening on special teams. On the plus side, they run all over Buffalo, 371 yards in two games.
 
Feb 19, 2015
4,628
I have less confidence in the Pats winning this game than probably any game since the first Rams Super Bowl. It just feels impossible. Which means they probably win.
 

Eddie Jurak

Go Leafs Go
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2002
34,205
Melrose, MA
I see Buffalo winning this, much as I hate to see it.

Jake Allen was very good against the Pats defense.

Defenses have adjusted to Mac and, whatever the reason. he hasn’t been able to adjust in response.

There are good things one might say about the Pats defense this year, but they have been miserable failures at getting a critical stop late.

And their first half MVP (Judon) has gone AWOL, and Barmore may be out hurt.

One can envision the Patriots getting into a late game situation where they need a critical stop, as that has been true in about half of their games. One can not really envision their D actually getting that stop.
 

wiffleballhero

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 28, 2009
3,492
In the simulacrum
I'm on Myles Bryant watch.

He got torched so badly in that last match-up they'll probably just extend his Covid listing .

Also, can they bring back Flores like they did with McDaniels in 2012?
 

DJnVa

Dorito Dawg
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2010
46,585
Defenses have adjusted to Mac and, whatever the reason. he hasn’t been able to adjust in response.
His passer rating the last 2 weeks is 109.6. His passer rating was better in second half of season.

He was crap against Buffalo, but do we know for sure that defenses adjusted or if he had a bad game and sometimes shit happens?
 

Eddie Jurak

Go Leafs Go
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2002
34,205
Melrose, MA
His passer rating the last 2 weeks is 109.6. His passer rating was better in second half of season.

He was crap against Buffalo, but do we know for sure that defenses adjusted or if he had a bad game and sometimes shit happens?
We don’t know anything for sure. Heck, maybe Mac and the D will rise to the occasion of the playoffs.

But judging from what I have seen, I’ll be wearing my pessimist hat while hoping I’m wrong.
 

ShaneTrot

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Nov 17, 2002
5,483
Overland Park, KS
They also have only 4 sacks in the last 4 games. QBs are way too comfortable against them. Tua and Wentz were horrible because they are shitty throwers of the football. I cannot stand the mush rush they do against mobile QBs, it seems those guys just get big runs anyway. Allen had 64 rushing yards in the last game, and Tua killed them with his legs for critical first downs, 5 rushes for 38 yards.
 

Ralphwiggum

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Jun 27, 2012
8,311
Needham, MA
I don't get saying this game feels impossible. Buffalo should be favored and should win, but the Pats did win a game there a few weeks ago, and despite not forcing a single punt the entire game were in a one possession game with them a couple of weeks later. Buffalo is better, but not by leaps and bounds.

For sure they need to play a clean game, win the turnover battle (or at least not lose it), avoid the stupid penalties and special teams mistakes. Whether they can do that or not is a legitimate question, but if they can they can win this game.
 

Jimbodandy

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 31, 2006
6,483
around the way
I don't get saying this game feels impossible. Buffalo should be favored and should win, but the Pats did win a game there a few weeks ago, and despite not forcing a single punt the entire game were in a one possession game with them a couple of weeks later. Buffalo is better, but not by leaps and bounds.

For sure they need to play a clean game, win the turnover battle (or at least not lose it), avoid the stupid penalties and special teams mistakes. Whether they can do that or not is a legitimate question, but if they can they can win this game.
This.

We have a shot if we can win the turnover battle and not otherwise step on our own tails. That's a big if lately.
 

sezwho

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2005
749
Brooklyn by way of Orono
If Allen goes off like last time, they are probably doomed. I just would like to see them play a clean game, you just cannot keep losing the TO battle against decent teams and expect to win. They are -6 in their last three losses. I would also appreciate not having to worry about something awful happening on special teams. On the plus side, they run all over Buffalo, 371 yards in two games.
I don’t even think the -6 turnover count includes the ‘hidden turnovers’ where the D or special teams do something stupid on 4th to provide a fresh set of downs (instead of the Pats getting the ball back). I don’t want to go back through game logs, but believe it happened more than once just last week.
 

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
22,518
Allen had 64 rushing yards in the last game, and Tua killed them with his legs for critical first downs, 5 rushes for 38 yards.
Someone will correct me, but on one of Tua's big runs, it looked like Van Noy went way too far inside and abandoned the edge. They are what they are. And one thing they seem to be is mistake-prone. In looking over the potential matchups, none screamed "should win" or "should lose." That really hasn't changed. I'm on the pessimistic side, but winning would hardly be a shocker.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 2, 2006
20,258
Philadelphia
I don’t even think the -6 turnover count includes the ‘hidden turnovers’ where the D or special teams do something stupid on 4th to provide a fresh set of downs (instead of the Pats getting the ball back). I don’t want to go back through game logs, but believe it happened more than once just last week.
Also players like JCJ and DMac dropping incredibly easy picks.

That -6 turnover differential has been a real team effort in all three phases.
 

Over Guapo Grande

panty merchant
SoSH Member
Nov 29, 2005
2,761
Worcester
Yes, the game where a huge early deficit made a frantic comeback fall short. Thus, "effectively".
But the game wasn't over after 18 real time minutes. The Pats had a legit chance to make a stop, get the ball back, and go into overtime. Not every game is going to be Hoyer time in the 4th Quarter... I am not sure what you are expecting.
 

Eddie Jurak

Go Leafs Go
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2002
34,205
Melrose, MA
I don't get saying this game feels impossible. Buffalo should be favored and should win, but the Pats did win a game there a few weeks ago, and despite not forcing a single punt the entire game were in a one possession game with them a couple of weeks later. Buffalo is better, but not by leaps and bounds.

For sure they need to play a clean game, win the turnover battle (or at least not lose it), avoid the stupid penalties and special teams mistakes. Whether they can do that or not is a legitimate question, but if they can they can win this game.
Playing clean, winning the turover battle, and not requiring a defensive stop late are the things they need to do to win, IMO.
 

tims4wins

PN23's replacement
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
29,547
Hingham, MA
I don't get saying this game feels impossible. Buffalo should be favored and should win, but the Pats did win a game there a few weeks ago, and despite not forcing a single punt the entire game were in a one possession game with them a couple of weeks later. Buffalo is better, but not by leaps and bounds.

For sure they need to play a clean game, win the turnover battle (or at least not lose it), avoid the stupid penalties and special teams mistakes. Whether they can do that or not is a legitimate question, but if they can they can win this game.
Agree with this as well. The way I see it, Allen played a near perfect game last time. He made a ton of ridiculous throws, and the Pats were very close to getting stops on almost every possession. But they never did. They just need a few things to break their way to have a more competitive defensive performance.

I think the Bills win, probably by multiple scores, but there is a path here.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
15,592
Since beating KC in week 5 - when KC was BAD at that point in the year - the Bills have beaten exactly ONE playoff team, the Pats a few weeks ago. In fact, they've only won two games against playoff teams all year - the terrible Chiefs in week 5 and the game in New England in week 16. They've lost three games to playoff teams (NE, TB, Ten).

The Pats, btw, are also 2-3 against playoff teams (wins vs Buf and Ten, losses to TB, Dal, and Buf).

It's not like the Bills have been rolling against a murderer's row schedule.

I still think the Bills win next week. They're home and they're better. The Pats need to play very very well in order to win. Possible, but I don't think it will happen.
 

luckiestman

Son of the Harpy
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
24,099
Allen was pretty bad for a while against the Jets yesterday. Final score doesn’t reflect how bad some of his drives were. But, in the flip side, the Buffalo D was really good. The Jets O has been moving the ball for a while now and Buffalo destroyed us. Now, we were without our top 4 WR and missing oline guys.
 

Nator

Member
SoSH Member
If the Patriots could eliminate one, just one special teams fuck up in they last three that they have lost, they might be hosting this weekend. My god. They have gifted opponents points, or just have made absolutely demoralizing errors allowing extended possessions in all of these games. If they just play a clean game on special teams, which incredibly seems like a huge ask with this year's team, they will win or be in a much stronger position to win.
 

SMU_Sox

queer eye for the next pats guy
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2009
7,770
Dallas
With PFF I don't like their individual player grades and I don't like that they don't adjust for quality of opponent (but that's just not what they do) but I do think their overall grades for different things like run defenses, offensive passing, tackling, etc. are usually pretty sound. So let's look at some negative trends going into the Bills game:

48204

The passing offense, pass rush, and special teams have been underwhelming.

If they play a clean or almost-clean game they can play with anyone. I didn't want Buffalo.

My biggest question for the Patriots is how they defend their crossing routes. If they leave Bryant or Ross alone on Beasley then they are probably in trouble. I wish they would play more quarters and/or zone. I hate the matchups in man defense. If Allen takes the checkdowns and can consistently pick your zones apart all game then fine.
 

tims4wins

PN23's replacement
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
29,547
Hingham, MA
My biggest question for the Patriots is how they defend their crossing routes. If they leave Bryant or Ross alone on Beasley then they are probably in trouble. I wish they would play more quarters and/or zone. I hate the matchups in man defense. If Allen takes the checkdowns and can consistently pick your zones apart all game then fine.
Aren't the Patriots a better zone team than man to begin with, after losing Gilmore and Jon Jones? Plus, isn't zone better for defending mobile QBs? (in man, DBs backs are to QB). I didn't really understand the game plan in round 2, hopefully BB has something much better dialed up for round 3.
 

moretsyndrome

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 24, 2006
1,206
Pawtucket
With PFF I don't like their individual player grades and I don't like that they don't adjust for quality of opponent (but that's just not what they do) but I do think their overall grades for different things like run defenses, offensive passing, tackling, etc. are usually pretty sound. So let's look at some negative trends going into the Bills game:

View attachment 48204

The passing offense, pass rush, and special teams have been underwhelming.

If they play a clean or almost-clean game they can play with anyone. I didn't want Buffalo.

My biggest question for the Patriots is how they defend their crossing routes. If they leave Bryant or Ross alone on Beasley then they are probably in trouble. I wish they would play more quarters and/or zone. I hate the matchups in man defense. If Allen takes the checkdowns and can consistently pick your zones apart all game then fine.
The decline in the pass rush, specifically Judon, has been especially steep. Half of his sacks were from game 2-5, where he was almost unstoppable. Now, he's very stoppable. Never mind no sacks, he's had no hits in a month. When he was rolling, that was such a boost to the secondary, which will have its hands full in the playoffs. It was obvious coming out of the last Bills game that Bryant needed help, and I'm sure he'll get it this game. The problem is that whoever gets that assignment will have to leave another area vulnerable. If Allen can adjust, that's trouble.

Special teams is another story. I just don't get it. I guess it's been taken for granted for so long, but all units have just been brutal. It's gotten to the point where they don't need to play well; they just need to figure out a way to avoid crippling the rest of the team's chances.
 

Saints Rest

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Since beating KC in week 5 - when KC was BAD at that point in the year - the Bills have beaten exactly ONE playoff team, the Pats a few weeks ago. In fact, they've only won two games against playoff teams all year - the terrible Chiefs in week 5 and the game in New England in week 16. They've lost three games to playoff teams (NE, TB, Ten).

The Pats, btw, are also 2-3 against playoff teams (wins vs Buf and Ten, losses to TB, Dal, and Buf).

It's not like the Bills have been rolling against a murderer's row schedule.

I still think the Bills win next week. They're home and they're better. The Pats need to play very very well in order to win. Possible, but I don't think it will happen.
I don't think the Bills are the best team in football, not even the best team in the AFC, but I do think they are the worst team for the Pats to go up against.