Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots: 4 pregame thoughts for Week 16

Emmanuel Sanders, Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)
Emmanuel Sanders, Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Buffalo Bills
Matt Milano, Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports) /

Can the Buffalo Bills slow down the Patriots’ run game?

In Week 13, the New England Patriots ran the ball 46 times for 222 rushing yards and an average of 4.8 yards per carry. While the weather dictated this game plan, it was still a poor performance from the Buffalo Bills defense since they knew this was likely to be the case.

The Bills got beat pretty easily in the trenches that allowed the Patriots to free up huge running lanes for Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson to take over the game and keep the offense on the field.

This week, the Bills don’t have the luxury of assuming the Patriots are going to be one-dimensional and must now account for Mac Jones throwing the ball. The question is have the Bills made enough adjustments to slow the run game down enough to put the ball in the rookie’s hands.

The Patriots are going to be without Rhamondre Stevenson for this game but Damien Harris has shown on enough occasions that he can be a featured running back and handle 20+ carries. The Bills will need to focus on slowing him down and do it without Star Lotulelei who was ruled out for personal reasons.

The Buffalo Bills level of success against the Patriots run game could be the biggest deciding factor in this game.