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Vikings vs. Packers ‘Sunday Night Football’ / New Year’s Eve open thread

Most of Bills Mafia will be focused on Week 18 news and halftime, rather than a matchup against a pair of NFC North teams — but tonight should be a fun one!

Minnesota Vikings v Buffalo Bills Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

Earlier today, the Buffalo Bills mercifully took care of business against the New England Patriots. The Bills had everything to play for, while the Patriots had every reason to thwart their momentum. Thankfully a turnover-filled first half by New England allowed the Bills to overcome a performance to forget from quarterback Josh Allen and nearly every player tasked with catching passes.

Overall, Bills-Patriots was a fairly messy offensive affair, one where head coaches Sean McDermott and Bill Belichick entered the afternoon well-prepared for their opponent. Moving forward, it’s vitally important that interim offensive coordinator Joe Brady figure out what’s happening with the passing game. There are too many drops, too few rhythm plays in succession. The team may have difficult conversations to mull over about the wide receiver room — this after having completed an extensive overhaul last spring.

Perhaps most concerning is the continued problems with the Bills’ special teams units. To his credit, punter Sam Martin has played exceptionally well in recent weeks. As for the kickoff teams, it can hopefully only improve. Its confounding that Buffalo would win the coin toss, elect to kick off, only to provide their opponent an opportunity to return said kick. The Patriots gladly took it all the way back for six before either offense even took the field. Given the league’s new rules, it would work best for the Bills to simply do only one of three things on kickoffs, depending on the play:

  • Kick the ball out of the end zone for a touchback (do not give the opponent momentum)
  • Kneel the ball in the end zone when receiving a deep kickoff (no need to invite chaos)
  • Call for a fair catch inside the 20 when fielding a kickoff (again, chaos)

Anything else may very well end up costing the Buffalo Bills during a very important game. There’s time to dissect all that unfolded in Week 17 for the Bills, so we’ll save more of it for next year (wink, wink).

For tonight, we’ll simply bask in the glory of the team’s 10th W of the season. It’s time to enjoy what should be a stress-free NFC North matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers as we await a change to the Gregorian calendar, the preferred calendar for over 440 years. That’s right... it’s New Year’s Eve, y’all!

Here’s your open thread to enjoy Sunday Night Football, and the company of each other’s commentary as we march into 2024.