Buffalo Bills look to carry momentum against New England

BUFFALO, NY - OCTOBER 30: Julian Edelman
BUFFALO, NY - OCTOBER 30: Julian Edelman /

BUFFALO, NY – OCTOBER 30: Patrick Chung #23 of the New England Patriots tackles Tyrod Taylor #5 of the Buffalo Bills for a loss during the second half at New Era Field on October 30, 2016 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Bills host Patriots in a modern day David vs. Goliath contest

This coming Sunday, the New England Patriots will pay a visit to the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field in Orchard Park in the 114th meeting between the two clubs.

New England leads the all-time series with a 69-43-1 advantage over the Bills and are currently an 8.5 point favorite according to Odds Shark.

Buffalo will look to pull off another upset as they were 9.5 point underdogs before defeating Kansas City last week while the Patriots will aim for an 8th consecutive victory and establish a stranglehold on the AFC East lead.

Quarterback Tom Brady will likely receive his usual warm welcome from a salty Bills Mafia as he is 26-3 in his career against the Bills.

Are the Bills any different after the win over the Chiefs?

Buffalo managed to halt its horrendous three-game slide at Arrowhead Stadium in week 12 against a Chiefs team that was once 5-0 and had defeated both New England and Philadelphia, arguably the two best teams in the NFL.

It was no doubt an important win for the playoff-hunting Bills, but it represented Kansas City’s 5th loss in six games so it may not be all that impressive.

The biggest story was the return of the defense that had all but disappeared in the previous three games.

The Bills held the Chiefs to just 236 total yards and a meager 15% conversion rate on 3rd down while winning the turnover battle with Tre’Davious White’s game-sealing interception, the rookie’s 2nd of the year.

The interception came on Kansas City’s final drive which was set up after the Bills’ offensive coordinator, Rick Dennison, opted to predictably run the ball three consecutive times while burning just 14 seconds off the clock.

It forced the Chiefs to use all of their time outs but left them with plenty of time for a heroic drive. It was a good thing the defense was on top of its game; otherwise the outcome could have been very different.

Quarterback Tyrod Taylor resumed his role as the starter and put up typical Tyrod numbers going 19 for 29 for 183 yards, a touchdown, and no interceptions.

Although not spectacular, his performance again proved to be enough given a strong defensive outing, fantastic punting from Colton Schmidt, and clutch field goals by Steven Hauschka.

The win reinforces the fact that Buffalo’s success relies heavily on its defense. The Bills are now 5-1 this year when holding opponents under 20 points while they’re 1-4 when allowing more.

Upsetting the Patriots, however, will necessitate a stout defensive performance coupled with an above average game from Tyrod, a historically rare occurrence.

Clay and Jones continue to impress, Cadet proving useful

A good sign for the Bills was the continuation of strong performances from TE Charles Clay and WR Zay Jones. “Zay n’ Clay” reeled in a combined 7 receptions for 93 yards while Jones added his second touchdown in three games.

It is encouraging to see the rookie consistently be effective following his slow start which should help boost his confidence.

Although RB LeSean McCoy was largely held in check by the Chiefs’ defensive front, the newly acquired Travaris Cadet, who was claimed by Buffalo after being cut by the Jets earlier this year, helped pick up the slack.

Cadet has proven much more useful for the Bills than the injured Mike Tolbert as he is averaging 5 yards per rush and 6.6 yards per reception through two games. It’s unfortunate for Tolbert, but it would be asinine for Buffalo to even consider returning him his position given Cadet’s contributions.

Pats hitting their stride, but similar schedules are interesting

After a sluggish 2-2 start by New England’s impeccable standards, the Patriots seemed to have hit their stride as they’ve posted 7 consecutive wins. The outcomes of common opponents, however, has been intriguing thus far.

Surprisingly, the two teams have faired similarly against several teams. For example, each club has beaten the Raiders, Buccaneers, Jets, Falcons, and Broncos while both lost to the Panthers. The Bills fell to the Saints and Chargers whom New England defeated, but Buffalo won against Kansas City who dealt the Patriots their first loss.

Cincinnati, Miami, and Houston are the only differing opponents so far. Buffalo lost to the Bengals while New England beat the Dolphins and Texans.

The Patriots are still the better team, but the similar and contrasting outcomes against common opponents might mean the teams are more evenly matched than we think. (very wishful thinking)

A Bills victory remains a long shot

For the Bills to pull off the seemingly impossible, they’ll need to have their best game of the year on both sides of the ball. The defense has proven it can hang with the best but has also shown to be extremely porous at times. Offensively, Shady and Tyrod will need to solve a Patriots defense that has surrendered just 13.1 points per game during their win streak.

The Bills are the lessor team, but if they can carry the momentum from last week into Sunday in front of an electric 12th man, they may keep the game closer than expected.

Next: BLD Podcast: Into December the Bills go

Hey, if Zay can pull this off, anything is possible.