Bills vs Patriots : Foxborough, Mass. — The Week 16 meeting between the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots has a much different feel than their matchup back in Week 8 on Monday Night Football.
For starters Bills rookie quarterback Josh Allen will play in this game. He missed the last one with an elbow injury and veteran quarterback Derek Anderson was forced to play for the second week after signing with the Bills just weeks prior.
The New England Patriots will have a third opportunity to clinch the AFC East on Sunday, and this time, they’ll be looking to do so without Josh Gordon.
Gordon’s season — and, perhaps, his NFL career — came to an abrupt end this week when the wide receiver was suspended indefinitely for violating the terms of his reinstatement.
While Gordon takes time away from the field to focus on his mental health, the Patriots will be forced to replace his considerable offensive production (40 catches, team-high 720 yards, three touchdowns in 11 games). We’ll get our first look at how they plan to do so when they welcome the Buffalo Bills to Gillette Stadium in their penultimate game of the regular season.
The 9-5 Patriots are pegged as 13 1/2-point favorites over the Bills, whose only two wins in Foxboro during the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick came against Jacoby Brissett in 2016 and in a meaningless Week 17 game in 2014 in which Brady played just one half.Brady is 29-3 in his career against the Bills, including a 25-6 victory at New Era Field last month.
The Patriots still are very much alive in the race for a first-round playoff bye, but they essentially need a win Sunday to keep pace with the 10-4 Houston Texans, who currently occupy the No. 2 spot in the AFC.
In order for New England to finish in the top two and secure free passage to the divisional round, it would need to win out and have the Texans lose to either the Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars, or win one of its final two games and have Houston lose both.
The Patriots also have yet to secure their 10th consecutive division title. They can do so with a win or a Miami Dolphins loss.
The Patriots have just one player listed on their injury report: special teamer Brandon King, who’s questionable for this game with a knee injury.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson were removed from the report Friday. Both are expected to suit up for New England.
The Bills ruled cornerback Ryan Lewis out and listed running back Chris Ivory as questionable. Ivory and LeSean McCoy both missed last Sunday’s win over the Detroit Lions, forcing Buffalo to rely on running back Keith Ford, an undrafted rookie who was making his NFL debut.