Three reasons the Bills will beat the Patriots this weekend with a Super Wild card, including Josh Allen playing his game

On Saturday night, the Buffalo Bills will host the New England Patriots for their first full-fledged playoff game at Orchard Park since 1996. It will be electric as the temperature will be cold.

The two clubs split during the regular season, and on their last outing, the Bills didn’t jump in a 33-21 win at Foxboro.

Let’s show how the Bills can win the rubber match against the Patriots to advance to the Divisional Round. These three elements will be core to the game.

Josh Allen plays his game

When the Bills convincingly beat the Patriots in Week 16, Allen had one of his best performances to date in the NFL. The Patriots only attacked him in 11 of 49 shots (22.4%), and considering keeping Allen in the pocket is probably the best strategy to limit Buffalo’s attack. This did not work.

I bet Belichick is trying to sharpen the competition for Allen in this competition with a higher blitz rate. While Allen’s counter-attack stats aren’t as flashy — nine touchdowns, four picks, and an average of 6.0 yards per attempt, that’s part of a rather low passer rating of 81.2 — Allen ran 26 times when pressed during the regular season and accumulated 202 yards on Those plays with 67 league touchdowns. He also ran for six goals on the ground in all positions.

Allen is best when he rips throws out of the pocket, takes what the defense gives him sometimes, sprinkles in some scrambling and determined runs, and sometimes takes deep shots. Belichick will try to keep Allen one-dimensional. If he stays “the same” and plays with a good mix of pocket passes, tailored runs, jams, and off-text throws, the Bills offense will be in good shape in this competition.

Buffalo stays true to the running defense philosophy to help pass defense

Regardless of Allen staying true to himself, the same goes for the somewhat underrated Bills, strong lately, and incredibly unique running defense. Of course, running defense stats always need to be contested because good teams often allow for a run at a late speed with the lead. Football Outsiders’ DVOA is a good, comprehensive metric that affects the quality of an opponent. Buffalo finished 11th in rushing defense during the regular season. As a defense, Biles finished third in tackles for a loss (92).

In a Wind Bowl loss to the Patriots, the Bills allowed 222 yards to the ground at a 4.8-yard clip per carry. With the addition of context—that 222 yards was deflected a bit by Harris’ 64-yard touchdown in the first half. Sure, this run is important and definitely important. But 22 of those 46 runs — with Mac Jones’ knees discounted — went for three yards or less.

More recently, Bills Run’s defense has increased. You’re probably thinking, they should be a big “eight men in a box” team. No. In fact, the opposite is true. Bills’ 392 defense saw a rush when he had between four and seven men in the penalty area during the regular season. Only four teams defended more rounds with “light chests”. Interestingly, Buffalo finished with the highest EPA in “light box” situations.

In short, Bills loves to use light boxes to stop running and they are really good at doing that. Why do they like that philosophy? Keeps the defense ready to defend the pass in any game. Want proof? Bills only allowed 5.11 yards per game against action play during the regular season, the lowest number in football.

It would be tough enough for Mac Jones to make contact with the receivers and his tight back and ends against a Buffalo defense in frigid temperatures. Then add the Bills layer that doesn’t telegraph the kind of play they’re trying to stop, and that makes Jones’ work hard. And the Bills’ unusual plan to stop running would limit the Patriots’ game to the ground just enough to keep New England’s total score relatively low.

Transfer bills in the red area

The Bills went 5 of 8 in red zone trips (scoring) in the December games against the Patriots. The 62.5% is roughly identical to Buffalo’s entire season red zone drop rate of 62.3%.

Only the Cowboys (291.4) averaged yards per game among the 1920s compared to bills (286.2) during the regular season. The Bills will move the ball against New England. Let’s say they’ve got into the red five times – they’ve hit the Patriots red on seven occasions in Foxboro a few weeks ago and four times in the Wind Bowl – the numbers suggest they’ll score three touchdowns. Add at least one field goal, i.e. 24 points.

That should be enough to secure the victory over the Patriots and go to the Divisional Tour.

* All advanced statistics are provided by TruMedia

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