Three key matchups as Patriots try to clinch a playoff spot
By Fran Brown
Three key matchups for the Patriots in week eighteen
Patriots run game vs. Buffalo run defense
In their loss to Buffalo last month, the Patriots only ran the ball 14 times for 60 yards, as they had to play from behind most of the night. Of course, this was without Damien Harris, and three of those runs were scrambles from Mac Jones. So that means there were only 11 designed runs called the entire night; yikes. Not a recipe for success against the high-powered Buffalo offense. The return of Harris last week gave the running game a bit of a spark, as Rhamondre Stevenson admitted to slowing down a bit as the season has progressed.
Since their game against the Patriots, the Bills’ closest game came a few weeks ago at home against the Miami Dolphins. Despite a high-powered passing attack, the Dolphins seemed to want to keep the ball out of Allen’s hands and committed to controlling the game through the ground. 188 rushing yards later, the Dolphins nearly came out of Buffalo with a crucial road win. The Patriots will need to follow this formula (and stay ahead of the sticks) on Sunday afternoon.