By Tiffany Williams –
This Saturday the New England Patriots will travel to Highmark Stadium, for an AFC Wild Card Playoff Game against the Bills. This is the first postseason matchup for these two teams in 58 years. On Dec. 28, 1963, the Boston Patriots played in its first playoff game, a 26-8 Patriots victory at War Memorial Stadium against the Bills.
The Patriots enter the playoffs as a Wild Card team for the first time since the 1998 season and under Bill Belichick, Patriots have played on Wild Card Weekend four times (2005, 2006, 2009 and 2019), however they played in those games as the division winner.
This week’s game marks the seventh time in team history that the Patriots will play a division foe in the postseason and the first time since the 2010 season. The Patriots are 5-1 in those games.
New England beat Buffalo, 14-10, in a Monday Night Football contest on Dec. 6 at Highmark Stadium. Buffalo avenged that defeat with a 33-21 win at Gillette Stadium on Dec. 26.
The Patriots ended their regular season with a 24-33 loss against the Dolphins and Buffalo ended their regular season with four consecutive wins.
Buffalo may have beaten the Patriots in their second matchup of the regular season 33-21 at Gillette Stadium on Dec. 26, but that doesn’t mean that they will automatically follow with a Wild Card win.
William Belichick has coached in 43 postseason games with 31 wins, both most among head coaches in NFL history. Has 6 Super Bowl victories, most-ever among head coaches. This season the Patriots ranked 4th in the NFL in total defense (310.8 yards allowed per game) and 2nd in pass defense (187.1 pass yards allowed per game). The Patriots ranked 2nd in the NFL with 23 INTs. The Patriots defense has gotta step up in big ways this weekend and if they can play a solid game, they might just be a threat for the Bills.
Just like the defense will need to step up and play a solid game, so does the offense need to step up in a big way this weekend and play a solid game. Mac Jones of course will need to find some targets that he can connect with to make some solid plays. He’s gonna need to look for playmakers like Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson, Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne. Ball management was an issue in the regular season and it cannot be an issue in this game. Every pass needs to connect with its intended target. Interceptions don’t hurt in the postseason playoffs, they sting worse than a bee and the Patriots don’t need to get stung this weekend.