Buffalo Bills vs. Atlanta Falcons: Week 17 pregame thoughts

Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports) /

Atlanta Falcons look to keep their playoff hopes alive as they travel to Orchard Park, NY for an intraconference battle against the Buffalo Bills

If the NFL has taught fans anything this season, it’s that no team should be taken lightly. The Buffalo Bills learned this very lesson back in Week 9 after its loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Bills are expected to be victorious in this game and by a wide margin. And to take home the AFC East crown in back-to-back years for the first time since 1990-1991, Buffalo must win its final two regular season games, starting with this matchup.

The Atlanta Falcons (7-8), come into this contest needing a win and a little help in the NFC for a postseason berth. But they face the daunting task of stopping Buffalo’s humming offense. Atlanta’s pass defense ranks 23rd in the league in yards and 28th in touchdowns. They’re also in the bottom half of the league in forcing turnovers and allowing touchdowns. To top it all off, the Falcons have one of the worst point differentials in the entire NFL at -122.

The Bills have been ascending ever since its second half performance in Tampa against the Buccaneers. It’s difficult to truly pinpoint one particular element that has been working in Buffalo’s favor, but Sean McDermott’s aggressive decision-making has continued providing his team with opportunities to convert, resulting in success offensively.

Defensively, the Bills have remained a top-tier pass defense. Its most obvious deficiency is eliminating big running plays from its game scripts and slowing down dynamic rushers. But Atlanta doesn’t have a game breaker in the backfield nor do the Falcons run the ball especially well.

If the Bills can contain a relatively low-scoring Atlanta offense (18.5 ppg), Buffalo will be on track to win the division in consecutive years. Here’s how to watch and a few final thoughts ahead of kickoff.

How to watch the Buffalo Bills against the Atlanta Falcons

Time and Location: Sunday January 2, 2022 1 PM ET, Highmark Stadium, Orchard Park, NY

TV Network: FOX – Broadcast Team: Kevin Kugler (play-by-play), Mark Sanchez (color analyst)

Radio: Buffalo Bills Radio Network – John Murphy (play-by-play), Eric Wood (color analyst), Sal Capaccio (sideline)