The Patriots head into Week 8 with a record of 2-4, and if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive, they have to beat the Buffalo Bills.
Main Focus: Run Game
Following a demoralizing 33-6 loss to San Francisco, the Patriots face an uphill battle in Buffalo. The Bills sit at 5-2, but a Patriots win would put them in a prime position to catch up. However, Patriots wideout Julian Edelman looks to be out with a knee injury for this game. This complication will make it even harder on QB Cam Newton, as his receiving corps just got even thinner. This leads me to believe the Patriots will go with a rushing attack similar to their Week 3 game. That would put the spotlight on 2nd year RB Damien Harris, who did run for 100 yards against Kansas City. The Patriots could also incorporate Rex Burkhead and James White into the run game, along with Cam Newton of course.
Furthermore, Cam Newton will need to be at his best to defeat Buffalo. Cam’s mechanics looked off last week, but hopefully, he gets them in line for this tough test. Cam did however find 2nd Year WR Jakobi Meyers on multiple targets against San Francisco. Meyers and FA signing Damiere Byrd will be vital in the passing game, along with Gunner Olszewski. The Patriots do have multiple practice squad WR options, and among them is WR Isaiah Zuber, who has shown some flashes with the ball in his hands. James White could also be a pass game contributor, as the Patriots have shown the ability to pass him the ball and get him into open space. These options could field a decent passing stat line from Newton, maybe from 150-200 yards.
The Patriots defense will also need to step up in Buffalo. After allowing 33 points last week, they will have to contain Josh Allen. Allen is an explosive playmaker, but if the Patriots keep him in the pocket, their secondary could stop him. JC Jackson and Stephon Gilmore will likely be able to lock down Stefon Diggs and John Brown/Cole Beasley. In addition, the Patriots will need to play the run far better than the previous week. Containing Devin Singletary and rookie Zack Moss will be key for the Pats. In my opinion, as long as they don’t give up 25+ points, they will keep the offense in the game.
In all, the Patriots have to win this game, or else their playoff road becomes much, much harder. If they fall to 5 losses and 0-1 vs Buffalo, their division hopes become a long shot. I expect a hard-fought game out of the Patriots, facing adversity. As long as the offense can produce as it should be while the defense holds, the Patriots could very well win this one.
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