When the Buffalo Bills take on the New England Patriots on Christmas Eve, they will need an outstanding performance in all three phases in order to come away with a victory. These five Patriots will be particularly important to shut down if Buffalo wants to have a merry Christmas.
RB Dion Lewis
With Rex Burkhead injured, running back Dion Lewis should get the majority of carries this weekend. The Bills were unable to contain Burkhead in their first meeting, he averaged over six yards per carry and had two touchdowns. Lewis also ran for over six yards a carry in the first meeting, but never touched the endzone. If the Bills can’t slow Lewis’ production, it won’t be a pretty day for Bills fans.
TE Rob Gronkowski
Gronkowski may be the only Buffalo native that Buffalonians despise. His 6’6”, 235-pound frame is nearly impossible to cover, and he showed that against the Bills earlier this season. Gronk had nine receptions for 147 yards and an extremely cheap shot on Tre’Davious White. Buffalo needs to focus on stopping Gronkowski in between the whistles instead of trying to retaliate for what happened last game.
CB Stephon Gilmore
All Bills fans love to hate Gilmore. They were overjoyed when he started the season terribly, but in the last few weeks he has been their best defensive back on the field. He also likes to take subtle jabs at Buffalo in the media, saying how happy he is to finally be on a winning team. Quaterback Tyrod Taylor will need to have a repeat performance of last week and spot balls perfectly to beat Gilmore.
WR Brandin Cooks
Cooks is the leading receiver not named Gronkowski on the Patriots roster. He needs only 16 yards to get 1,000 receiving yards on the season. Cooks speed presents matchup issues for most NFL teams. The secondary will have to be at their peak in order to contain the potent Patriots passing game.
QB Tom Brady
Brady is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. He is 27-3 all time against the Bills and most of those games haven’t even been close. Brady can seemingly pick apart any defense with ease. Head coach Sean McDermott will have to be creative with his defense on Sunday, far more creative than three weeks ago, in order to stop the future Hall of Famer and have a chance to move to 9-6.