The playoffs are here and, for the first time since the 1990s, the Buffalo Bills will have a home playoff game with full stadium capacity. This will be a tough matchup as the Bills are playing the New England Patriots for the third time in two months. The weather will be somewhat of a factor. Not as much as the last game in Buffalo, but it’s going to be one of the coldest games in NFL history and this means that our wide receivers need to be sure-handed. The wide receiver group starts with Stefon Diggs.
Stefon Diggs has a big game every time the Bills play the Patriots. He averages almost 85 yards per game and just under one TD per game. Diggs will need to focus this game and be at his absolute best. The ball gets harder to catch in colder weather, the ball is rock hard and sometimes hurts to catch. Being the Bills’ best wide receiver, Diggs will get about 10 to 12 targets and will end up with around 100 yards. To top off this game, Diggs finds the endzone and leaves a huge footprint.
Josh Allen will need to be effective on the ground as well as in the air in this game. The Patriots have struggled against the run in past weeks, allowing over 100 rushing yards in four of their last six games. Both times the Bills played the Patriots this year, Allen used his legs well. He is averaging just over 50 rushing yards per game against them. The Bills will need to mix in a couple of designed QB runs on Saturday to be successful. Expect to see Allen run the ball eight to 10 times for over 60 yards. In the air, expect to see 25-30 attempts for 275 yards and 2 TDs.
Matt Milano has been playing very well this year. He has been playing well in coverage and against the run. This week, he will need to have a big game. In the red zone, the Patriots love to use their tight ends, particularly Hunter Henry. He has 9 TD catches, which is 4 more than any other tight end on their team. Milano will need to make sure he doesn’t let Henry get a clean release off the line and will need to keep a body on him at all times.
In the run game, Milano will need to continue to play downhill and meet the running backs in the hole. The Patriots are going to have a run-heavy game plan this week. Only expect Mac Jones to throw about 15 to 18 passes. Milano will need to play close to the line of scrimmage and fill any hole he sees. Expect to see Milano get five to eight tackles, with at least one for a loss.
This is going to be a great game and a great atmosphere on Saturday night. If the Buffalo Bills can keep the Patriots run game in check and have a balanced offensive attack this should end with the Bills advancing.