Find out more about the Buffalo Bills Week 16 opponent, the New England Patriots.
Question 1: There is some uncertainty about who can start at quarterback for the Patriots? Who do you want to see start this week against the Buffalo Bills?
Adam Weinrib: We would much rather see the Patriots start Jarrett Stidham…just because, but we understand that’s not how the team operates. It seems far more important for them to try to beat the Bills, at home, to attempt to ruin Buffalo’s momentum heading into the postseason than it does to test out a potential QB option for ’21.
In all honesty, though, limited views at Stidham seem to suggest that he’s not the solution, either, so there isn’t really a high-impact decision to be made here. We understand Bill Belichick’s frustration with the constant queries. Cam Newton seems to think he might be back next year, though? That’s probably a bigger issue that needs to be addressed.
Question 2: The Patriots defense has struggled to stop the run recently. What do they need to do differently to fix this part of their defense?
Adam Weinrib: Get Dont’a Hightower back? Kidding, but without the linebacker options the team lost this offseason, both in free agency and through opt outs, it’s been difficult to maintain any sense of normalcy in this unit. Patriots fans might recall the regularity with which the “wheel route” owned us in previous iterations of the defense.
Now, running up the gut has become just as much of an issue. In reality, though, the Pats WERE improving in this avenue prior to facing off with Cam Akers and the Rams. They bent, but didn’t break in an impressive victory over Kyler Murray and the Cardinals at the start of December, holding repeatedly on the goal line.
There may not be a quick fix to solve this issue heading into Week 16, but getting Ja’Whaun Bentley back in any capacity (he’s been deemed questionable) could help; he was a big part of that goal-line surge against Arizona.
Question 3: Is there a player who is a bit under-the-radar that has been playing well that Buffalo Bills fans should know about and watch for this week?
Adam Weinrib: If you don’t stack the box against Damien Harris, you’ll regret it. The kid’s motor hasn’t stopped since it was ignited this year. In terms of under-the-radar playmakers, Damiere Byrd has been wide open for Cam Newton several times per game since he was introduced to the offense. Byrd won’t pile up catches, but he’ll be good for a few chunk play opportunities per game that the Bills should work hard to avoid.
Question 4: What do you think will be the deciding factor in this week’s game and who do you think wins?
Adam Weinrib: The deciding factor will likely be just how motivated this Pats team can get in the wake of the first clinched playoff-less season since 2008.
I believe Buffalo will be riding too high into this one to let themselves play down to the Patriots’ level, as they did in the home game earlier this season. No trap game before their playoff-deciding Week 17 showdown with Miami; 31-18 Bills.