The Buffalo Bills (4-2) enter play against the New England Patriots (1-5) in search of their fifth consecutive victory in the series. You’d have to go back all the way to the 1970s for a time when Buffalo won this many consecutive games against the Patriots, as Buffalo hadn’t beaten New England on more than three straight occasions since doing so nine straight times from November 1971 to December 1975.
Those kind of trends don’t mean much besides bragging rights for fans, given that each team has plenty of new faces in each new year. As for the 2023 vintages of both teams, their fortunes couldn’t be much more different than they are. The Bills are one of the league’s best teams even with their offensive struggles over the last two weeks. The Patriots are near the bottom of the league in most offensive categories, which has taken a toll on a fairly effective defensive unit.
For Josh Allen and the Bills, the keys are simple in theory: possess the football, find Stefon Diggs, don’t commit silly turnovers or penalties, and score enough points where the Patriots can’t rely on a ball-control, run-oriented attack to win the game. For New England, establishing the run game could help quarterback Mac Jones to stay upright and find his receivers, but he has struggled against Buffalo in his career. Jones has just a 66 quarterback rating, by far his worst against divisional opponents, against Buffalo, completing only 58% of his passes for 602 yards, four touchdowns, and five interceptions in four career starts against the Bills.
This is your open thread for the first half, friends. Remember to be civil to each other. Toggle the comments to “oldest” for that classic game thread feel. And, most importantly, enjoy the game, wherever it is that you’ll be watching.