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Billieve: Wild Card preview vs. New England Patriots

Get ready for Bills/Patriots: Round 3!

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Since the Buffalo Bills came into existence, they have played 34 postseason contests, but only twice have the Bills taken on the New England Patriots after the regular season: during the 1963 season, and on Saturday night, when Buffalo hosts New England on Wild Card weekend.

Much like the first meeting between these AFC East foes 58 years ago, inclement weather is expected to play a huge role in Saturday night’s 8:15 p.m. showdown, which could be among the coldest games ever played in Buffalo’s history.

On the latest episode of the Billieve Podcast, hosts John Boccacino and Jamie D’Amico have everything you need to know as the Bills look to win this rubber match with New England and send Bill Belichick and the Patriots packing for the offseason.

Among the topics discussed:

  • Of course Buffalo would be once again hosting New England in a game that features inclement weather. The temperature is expected to hover around 0 degrees Fahrenheit, with winds between 10- and 15 miles-per-hour and the possibility of snow. How will the weather affect the game?
  • Head coach Sean McDermott gets another chance to show he can out-coach Bill Belichick. Can McDermott make the in-game adjustments to whatever Belichick throws his way?
  • New England QB Mac Jones has come back to earth and hit the rookie wall over the last four weeks following a solid start to his career. What can the Bills do to confuse Jones and force him into turnovers?
  • The Bills’ resurgent pass rush led the NFL in sacks over the last month of the season, and will need to harass and apply pressure on Jones.
  • The Patriots ran the ball down Buffalo’s throat the first meeting, and had success running the football even when Buffalo was determined to stop the run. What adjustments can the Bills make to contain the Patriots’ ground game?
  • Since Tre’Davious White went down for the year, Levi Wallace, Dane Jackson, Taron Johnson and the rest of the Bills’ secondary have risen to the challenge. The same must be true Saturday night whenever Jones looks to throw the ball to WRs Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne, and Nelson Agholor.
  • Getting excellent pass coverage from LBs Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano is key, too, as Buffalo needs to neutralize the Patriots’ two-headed TE monster of Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith.
  • Josh Allen’s stats have not been great in cold-weather games, but what is the reason for his dip in performance, especially in cold-weather home games?
  • What does Allen need to do Saturday night to finish drives with touchdowns and not just settle for field goals?
  • The Patriots employ more zone looks traditionally on defense, but they relied on man-to-man matchups in the Week 16 loss, and Allen and the Bills made New England pay in the passing game. What adjustments will Belichick make on defense, and what kind of offensive game plan will offensive coordinator Brian Daboll dial up?
  • The Patriots could be banged up in their defensive backs. Can Allen take advantage of a depleted secondary?
  • There is a golden opportunity for WRs Stefon Diggs, Gabriel Davis, Cole Beasley, Emmanuel Sanders, and Isaiah McKenzie.
  • Devin Singletary and the ground game will need to get going to provide the Bills with more balance and make the play action pass more effective

Check out the latest Billieve Podcast as Boccacino and D’Amico give their score predictions as Buffalo looks to win a third straight home playoff game and end New England’s season in the process.

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