In case you haven’t heard, the Patriots have a crucial game with the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium. While a loss does not end any hope of reaching the playoffs, a win could go a really long way in helping them get there.
With six games left, the Patriots would ideally need to go at least 4-2 to give themselves a chance. With tough matchups against the Bills (twice), Bengals and Dolphins, they will need to win games against tough competition.
Bill Belichick likes to say that the season starts after Thanksgiving, so here are five bold predictions as the Patriots begin their march to either the playoffs or the bottom of the AFC East.
Five bold predictions for Patriots in week thirteen
Rhamondre Stevenson records at least five receptions
Quick, who leads the Patriots in receptions?
Surprisingly, it’s Rhamondre Stevenson who now has 50 receptions on the season, three more than Jakobi Meyers. This is thanks in large part to Stevenson’s 33 receptions in the last five games. The thing that stands out most is Stevenson’s 38 targets over that time, as the Patriots are clearly relying on him to carry the offense right now. The wide receivers aren’t really cutting it, and until recently, the tight ends were invisible, so they have needed Stevenson more than ever.
At this point, it probably doesn’t matter who the Patriots play; they will find ways to get Stevenson the ball, but he does get a favorable matchup with the Bills.
In each of the past two weeks, the Bills have allowed at least five receptions to running backs from opposing teams, including four to Detroit Lions running back D’Andre Swift. I expect Stevenson to see at least six targets and bring in at least five receptions.