Patriots face huge swing for AFC’s top seed vs Bills on Monday Night Football
By Mike Luciano
The New England Patriots picked a great time to go on a six-game winning streak. Not only have Mac Jones and this loaded defense put Bill Belichick back in the postseason, but they’ve managed to make a serious run at the No. 1 seed in what has been a chaotic AFC this year.
While Jones might not be putting up the gaudiest box score numbers, his production compared to some of the other rookies in this class is astounding. With one of the best defenses in the entire league, New England is well-equipped to go on the attack and plant their flag atop the conference.
With every other AFC team already having lost four times, there is no clear-cut favorite, especially with Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes not playing like runaway MVPs. In primetime against a very good Buffalo Bills team, Jones has the chance to put New England in pole position.
After the Chiefs won on Sunday Night against the Broncos, a win against the Bills would give the Patriots a 46% chance of earning the top seed in the conference, per FiveThirtyEight. That number would fall all the way down to just 8% if Josh Allen is able to come away with the win, though.
The New England Patriots could be the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
The Patriots will have a very daunting task ahead of them in this game. In addition to Allen being able to make something out of nothing with his arm talent and scrambling ability, even an elite secondary like the one Belichick has may find it difficult to keep Buffalo’s elite collection of receivers in check for an entire game.
Luckily, New England has the perfect offensive system to counteract such a high-flying offense. With Jones able to play mistake-free football and the 1-2 punch of Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson leading the ground game, the Patriots have the tools needed to control the time of possession.
The Pats have used this formula to help take down some lackluster opponents, but time will tell if they can do so against the league’s elite. In addition to the fact that they play Buffalo twice in a three-game span, New England will take on Jonathan Taylor and a Colts team that’s playing some dynamic football of late.
New England may still be in line for a playoff spot barring a calamitous collapse, but they have the chance to play all of their postseason games in the friendly confines of Gillette Stadium. Beating Allen and the Bills is the first step to realizing that fantasy.