The New England Patriots (6-5) will host the Buffalo Bills (8-3) for the first time in the 2022 NFL season, and it is set up to be a near must-win for both teams if they want to reach their respective goals.
For the Patriots, a loss would further damage their already dimming hopes for a second consecutive playoff appearance. And for the Bills, they are looking to build some momentum after a mid-season hiccup and continue to vie for the AFC East crown and the conference’s #1 seed. Check out the top football betting strategies for lining your pockets this week.
Both clubs have a lot at stake, so let’s dive into the keys to winning for the Patriots.
Last week, the Patriots offense finally put together multiple drives that ended in a touchdown for the first time since week seven against the Chicago Bears. It was the first time the offense put together multiple drives that culminated in at least 70 yards and a score since week six against the Cleveland Browns.
A big reason why the Patriots have struggled to move the ball down the field is their inability to convert on third down, sustain long scoring drives, and score in the red zone. Here are some alarming statistics for the Patriots offense:
If the Patriots win on Thursday night, they will need to sustain long drives that end in touchdowns. Keeping Josh Allen and the high-octane Bills offense on the sidelines as much as possible will be key.
The defense’s performance against the Vikings brought back worrisome memories from last year’s defensive collapse. Before the bye week a year ago, the Patriots’ defense gave up an average of 15.4 points per game. That average nearly doubled to 30 points per game allowed in the five games after the bye. Check out our top football odds for betting on the Patriots/Bills!
As currently constituted, this team is incapable of keeping up point for point against Josh Allen and the Bills offense. The Patriots are 0-5 this season when giving up at least 20 points. That’s not a lot of points in today’s NFL, especially for Josh Allen, whose team has not punted in the last two matchups against the Patriots.
Allen is the third most blitzed quarterback in the league, yet he is the fourth-least pressured quarterback. He has the second most scrambles and the highest yards gained per scramble.
The Patriots defense will need to reverse those last three statistics to have a fighting chance. The defensive line has to get pressure early and often, and they must contain Allen in the pocket. Allen is a force of nature, but his hero ball tendencies lead to turnovers (he is tied for most INTs and tied for the second most fumbles lost).
The Patriots’ offense is 25th in the league in fourth-quarter scoring, averaging 4.5 points in the fourth quarter. That is more than a 50% drop off from last season’s average of 9.6 points scored in the fourth quarter. The Patriots are the only team in the league without a fourth-quarter passing touchdown this season.
Frankly, that is brutal. The Patriots can not afford to go 0 for four on drives like they did last week against the Vikings. If the game is tight in the fourth quarter, Josh Allen can make plays like he did last week in Detroit to win them the game. Are Mac Jones and this Patriots offense finally going to break through in the fourth quarter?
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