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Buffalo Bills vs. Atlanta Falcons: First-half open thread

Buffalo looks to move one step closer to a division crown

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills face off against the Atlanta Falcons this afternoon in each team’s first game of 2022. For Atlanta, it’s the first time in 17 years that they’ve played in Orchard Park. Their quarterback, Matt Ryan, was a redshirt sophomore at Boston College. Buffalo’s quarterback, Josh Allen, was a fourth-grader in Firebaugh, California.

Now, the 36-year-old Ryan will face off against the 25-year-old Allen in a critical game for both the Bills and the Falcons. For Atlanta, a win keeps their slim playoff hopes alive, but a loss gives them nine defeats on the year—all but eliminating them from playoff contention. For the Bills, a win keeps them on pace to win the AFC East for the second straight year, but a loss means that they’ll need help in the form of the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars knocking off the New England Patriots.

Buffalo has won two straight, including a big 33-21 contest over those Patriots last week. The Falcons have alternated wins and losses since November 18, and they beat the Detroit Lions last week. The Falcons have seven wins, but those wins have come against teams that have combined for a 32-72-1 record this year. They’ve only beaten one team that currently has a winning record: the Miami Dolphins. Miami dropped to 1-6 when they lost to Atlanta in October, but they have rattled off seven straight victories to move to 8-7 on the year.

The weather won’t be pretty today, as temperatures are expected to hover around 25 degrees throughout the day. A wintry mix fell overnight, and while it may continue lightly throughout the game, the forecast suggests that the worst of the precipitation is in the past.

Here is your open thread for the game, friends. Remember to toggle the comments to “oldest” for that classic game-thread feel. Be civil to each other. And most importantly, enjoy the game wherever you’re watching. Happy New Year!

Go Bills!