With their first AFC East title since 1995 already secured, the Buffalo Bills (11-3) travel to Foxborough with their sights set on improving their playoff seeding in Week 16 when they take on the New England Patriots (6-8) on Monday Night Football.
The Bills, who have already secured their third trip to the playoffs in four seasons under head coach Sean McDermott, can wrap up the No. 2 seed in the AFC with a win over New England, combined with the Indianapolis Colts defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers beating the Tennessee Titans. The Bills would also have a more than 99 percent chance of securing the two seed with a Steelers loss and a Cleveland Browns win over the New York Jets.
Besides playoff seeding, the Bills have a chance to accomplish something they’ve never done since Bill Belichick started coaching the Patriots: sweep the season series. New England hasn’t been swept by a divisional foe since 2000, when both the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins accomplished the feat. Buffalo hasn’t swept the season series from New England since 1999.
Earning a win in New England would also give the Bills their first 12-win season since 1993, the last of their four straight Super Bowl appearances.
Quarterback Josh Allen, who has made tremendous strides in his third year as Buffalo’s starting quarterback, is looking to avenge his worst game of the 2020 season: Buffalo’s 24-21 win over New England in Week 8. In that game, the Bills prevailed despite Allen passing for 154 yards (second lowest total this year) with zero touchdowns and one interception. It was one of only two games where Allen did not throw for a TD, and the only game where he had more interceptions than touchdowns.
Allen (4,000 passing yards) needs 360 yards to eclipse Drew Bledsoe’s franchise record for passing yards in a season (4,359, set in 2002). Meanwhile, wide receiver Stefon Diggs (1,314 receiving yards) needs 55 more yards to break Eric Moulds’s record (1,369 in 1998).
The Patriots have already been eliminated from the playoffs and will miss the postseason for the first time since the 2008 season.
Monday’s matchup will be the 122nd all-time between the Bills and Patriots.
New England leads the all-time series 76-44-1, with Buffalo earning the win in Week 8 at Bills Stadium. Rookie Zack Moss rushed for two touchdowns, Allen rushed for a score, and rookie Tyler Bass kicked the eventual game-winning field goal with 4:06 remaining.
Cam Newton drove the Patriots to the Buffalo 19-yard line, but the Bills clinched the win when defensive tackle Justin Zimmer forced a Cam Newton fumble, which was scooped up by safety Dean Marlowe with 37 seconds remaining.
The last time the Bills won in New England? Oct. 2, 2016, when Dan Carpenter booted three field goals, Tyrod Taylor completed 27 of 39 passes for 246 yards with a seven-yard TD toss to LeSean McCoy, and Buffalo blanked the Tom Brady-less Patriots 16-0.
Buffalo is currently listed as a seven-point favorite. Here are all the ways to catch Monday’s game from home:
Date: Monday, December 28, 2020
Time: 8:15 p.m. EST
Channel: The game will be carried nationally on ABC and ESPN.
Announcers: Steve Levy (play-by-play), Brian Griese (analyst), Louis Riddick (analyst), Lisa Salters (sideline reporter).
Location: Gillette Stadium | Foxborough, MA
Radio: WGR 550 AM (Buffalo), WCMF 96.5 FM and WROC 950 AM (Rochester), Fan 590 AM (Toronto), WKRL 100.9 FM and 106.5 FM (Syracuse), and the rest of the Buffalo Bills Radio Network.
Radio Play-by-Play: John Murphy and Steve Tasker with sideline reporter Sal Capaccio.
Online: NFL Game Pass, NFL.com Game Center
Twitter: Follow @BuffRumblings for complete Bills coverage on Twitter before, during, and after every game.
Facebook: Like Buffalo Rumblings on Facebook!
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- Full participant Friday: QB Josh Allen (knee/ankle), WR Stefon Diggs (foot), CB Tre’Davious White (neck).
- Limited participant: S Jaquan Johnson (ankle), WR/returner Andre Roberts (back), T Daryl Williams (groin).
- Did not practice: TE Reggie Gilliam (knee, hamstring), T Ty Nsekhe (groin).
New England Patriots
- Limited participant Friday: C David Andrews (calf), LB Ja’Whaun Bentley (shoulder), DL Tawshawn Bower (ankle), DL Adam Butler (shoulder), LB Shilique Calhoun (knee), LS Joe Cardona (ankle), DL Byron Cowart (back), OT Jermaine Eluemunor (ankle), K Nick Folk (back), DL Lawrence Guy (shoulder), RB Damien Harris (ankle), OL Justin Herron (ankle), CB J.C. Jackson (knee), LB Anfernee Jennings (shoulder), CB Jonathan Jones (neck), G Shaq Mason (calf), WR Donte Moncrief (thigh), DE John Simon (hamstring), WR Matthew Slater (knee), RB J.J. Taylor (quadricep).