Rising Patriots defender has a few words for Bills Mafia ahead of Week 17

New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins
New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

Based on how the Patriots 2023 season has gone, even early on in the season, it was a complete shock they were able to walk away from their first matchup with the Bills with an exciting last second win. They came into the game as a 1-5 team who had just lost three in a row, two of which were embarrassing blowouts.

On the other hand, the Bills were 4-2 and had accomplished some impressive wins to start the year against the Raiders, Commanders, and Dolphins. The media believed they would obliterate the Patriots in Foxboro, especially after their defense lost Christian Gonzalez and Matthew Judon and due to Mac Jones' turnover issues at that time.

Fortunately, that's not what happened.

After Kendrick Bourne fumbled the football late in the fourth quarter and the Bills turned the recovery into a touchdown three minutes later, the Patriots were down three points and needed a solid game-winning drive to get a hard-earned W.

There wasn't a lot of confidence it could get done, as Jones had only done it one other time. But he led the offense down the field in eight plays and less than two minutes, ending the drive with an exciting Griddy-celebrated touchdown to Mike Gesicki with just twelve seconds left in the game.

Fast forward to Week 17, when the two teams meet again, they remain in the same position they were in two months ago. The Patriots are now just a 4-11 team, while the Bills are holding a 9-6 record with big hopes of locking up a playoff spot by avoiding a season sweep by New England.

Because the game will be in Buffalo, a historically hostile environment for the Patriots, players were asked about that atmosphere and how they handle it in-game.

Jahlani Tavai praised the fans for their support and hype for the team but said he and the rest of the team plan on doing all they can to keep them quiet on Sunday.

"It’s cool, it’s cool. But we have a goal, and our goal is to go in there, into enemy territory, and do our best and keep ’em quiet. So, we’re gonna do our best on our side. … I’m trying to imagine that and make it a reality. So, it’s a cool atmosphere, but we wanna do something about that."

Although it's a pretty tame statement, hopefully, it won't be considered fighting words by Bills Mafia, who already go above and beyond to be a ruckus crowd with their vocal support and throwing of odd items onto the field mid-game.

But the attitude from Tavai is nice to hear, especially since the defense has been playing nearly lights-out in recent weeks. It would be good to see that continue against the Bills and get their first sweep of the team since 2019, and disrupt their playoff hopes in the process.

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