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Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots: First-half open thread

Buffalo looks to sweep the Pats for the first time this century

NFL: New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills are fighting for the No. 2 seed in the AFC Playoff race. The New England Patriots are playing out the string, having been eliminated from the playoffs by virtue of their Week 15 loss to the Miami Dolphins. The bizarro world that is the year 2020 has contained more than a few oddities, but in NFL parlance, the Fall of the House of Belichick is one of the biggest.

It’s not as if we didn’t see this as a possibility, as Buffalo loaded up their roster in an effort to capitalize on quarterback Josh Allen’s rookie contract. General manager Brandon Beane gambled, rightly so, that adding to Allen’s supporting cast would unlock the quarterback’s potential. Allen is in the midst of an MVP-type season, so Beane’s gamble has paid off handsomely.

Stefon Diggs, the crown jewel of Beane’s acquisitions, needs just 55 receiving yards tonight to surpass Eric Moulds as the franchise’s single-season leader. He already passed Moulds for the Buffalo franchise record in catches for one season, doing so on the first play of the game last week. Allen needs 25 completions, 360 passing yards, and four passing touchdowns to completely rewrite the Bills’ passing record book.

For New England, we’ll see if quarterback Cam Newton can play better than he has been, and if he doesn’t, we’ll see if Belichick pulls the plug and gives Jarrett Stidham a shot. For Buffalo, we’ll see if the team can stay hot and, just as importantly, stay healthy on their way into the playoffs for the third time in four years under head coach Sean McDermott.

Your open thread for the first half is right here, ladies and gentlemen. Enjoy the game and go Bills!