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Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots, Wild Card edition: First-half open thread

The Bills need to vanquish a divisional tormentor to advance in the playoffs

NFL: New York Jets at Buffalo Bills Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Finally, after what’s felt like the longest day of the year, the Buffalo Bills are ready to face off against the New England Patriots for the right to move on to the Divisional Round of the 2021 NFL Playoffs. The teams split their season series, with Buffalo losing 14-10 at home on December 6 before rebounding to win 33-21 on the road on December 26.

With this, the third meeting in 41 days, the Bills and Patriots play one another in the postseason for the first time since December 28, 1963. In that game, the Boston Patriots knocked off our Bills, winning 26-8 at War Memorial Stadium. Babe Parilli completed only 14-of-35 passes, but he totaled 300 yards and two touchdowns on the day. Jack Kemp and Daryle Lamonica combined to go 19-of-45 for 302 yards, one touchdown, and four interceptions in the loss for the Bills.

With temperatures expected to hover around five degrees this evening, and a “Real Feel” temperature below zero, the expectation is that offense may be hard to come by tonight. For the Bills, they’ll need to make sure that the engine that keeps their offense running stays hot, as quarterback Josh Allen holds the keys to victory tonight. If his offensive line can keep him clean, and the team can continue to find some success running Devin Singletary on the ground, then the Bills will put the Patriots in a situation they don’t want, which is to have rookie quarterback Mac Jones needing to push the ball downfield in order to win.

Your open thread is here, folks. Remember to toggle the comments to “oldest” for that classic game-thread feel. Be civil to each other. But most of all, enjoy the game from wherever you’re watching.

Go Bills!