The Spy: New England Patriots – The penultimate duel of fates


The Buffalo Bills will soon face the New England Patriots for the third time in just two months. Meanwhile, the teams split the series, as the Bills won a second straight AFC East championship. However, the impact and value of this title is now, certainly, questioned. Winning that title and then being knocked out by division rival Nemesis (just a week later) would be the ultimate ‘crash and burn’ scenario. In truth, the split will be settled once and for all this Saturday night. These two teams are quite different in most aspects and will continue to be. What’s more, these two teams enter this primetime frozen hellscape game under very different circumstances. The Bills are on an energetic course of a four-game winning streak while the Patriots limp to Buffalo after losing four of five games.

More importantly, the Bills come into this game mostly healthy and injury-free for critical players. The same cannot be said for the New England Patriots. CB Jalen Mills is on the COVID list and probably won’t fit on Saturday. Standout DT rookie Christian Barmore has a serious knee injury and (at best) will be limited. DE superstar Matt Judon has been in a bit of a fog, it seems; not (publicly) injured at least, but playing poorly lately. Starting safety Kyle Dugger has been struggling with a nagging hand injury that could impact his effectiveness. LB Jamie Collins and OT Isiah Wynn were both non-participating in practice with injuries. On the way to what will be the 2n/a coldest game in Bills franchise history, with the Patriots carrying so many injuries posing a serious threat to their potential output.

SPY 1: That final dance with the hood, finally.

Only three NFL coaches continued to coach into their 70s. Bill Belichick is about to do it and be in that particular age range. Under a wide range of circumstances, there’s a chance this will be the last time the Bills face him as head coach of the Patriots. Equally intriguing is how little time there is between clashes this season. Bill Belichick is known for taking away the biggest strength or player from the opponent and for dazzling/deceiving opponents with esoteric adjustments and tactics. Unusually, in the last game, the Patriots made virtually no adjustments. It will be even harder for the Hood to adapt this week with a defense hampered by multiple crucial injuries.

SPY 2: McCorkle Comes Home to Roost

In two games against the Bills this season, Mac Jones is just 8-18, for 82 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception, according to Pro Football Reference. Jones plays with most of the normal struggles that normally plague rookie QBs. On the plus side, Jones shows great composure and control of the (simple) offense under normal circumstances. That said, as the season progressed, Mac Jones’ performances became more erratic as the weather grew colder. The coldest game Mac Jones has played so far is 33 degrees. Coming on Saturday, he will play in temperatures approaching the threshold of zero degrees.


Mac Jones will struggle to take on the famous Bills defense in such wintry weather and with more than 70,000 electrified Bills fans screaming incessantly. Expect most passing plays to be vanilla concepts targeting the short and middle areas of the pitch. Mac Jones will give up/create at least two turnovers.

SPY 3: Patriot Defense – The main plague

The New England Patriots’ defense is elite, trailing only the Bills by two ranking spots. He is expertly trained and just as adaptable as Bills. You could say the Bills have more talent than the Patriots, but the Patriots are more complete in their defense.

My contention is that the Patriots’ greatest defensive strength, and therefore threat, is their ability to deceive and their ability to take away the opponent’s greatest strength in turn.


The Buffalo Bills must be dynamic. They have to release the whole offense. Focusing solely on the run or the single pass is a real killer tactic against the Patriots. The best quarterbacks can get past the New England Patriots, and even moderately talented running teams can crush the Patriots’ less-than-stellar running defense (despite verbal diarrhea to the contrary, national pundits spit at a pace and a pyroclastic volume). The Bills need to push the Patriots back on their heels early and often with a blitzkrieg of Brian Daboll’s best takeouts, on the ground and in the air.



  • Adjustment flexibility
  • racing game
  • Variety of tactics
  • Consistency
  • The discipline


  • passing game
  • Inability to play from behind (Score Effects)
  • Limited use of weapons and/or weapons
  • QB Run Sensitivity
  • Passing game through


Given that these two teams have played twice so recently, significant adjustments will be made. Even in terms of communication, most verbiage will change for both offenses as a defense against tendencies and recounts becoming obvious. Adjustments will be made and tactics changed. For the Patriots, I expect more blitz against Josh Allen. In the previous game, little blitz and extraordinarily few in-game adjustments were made to counter the Bills. With Bill Belichick unable to rely firmly on his offense and his quarterback in particular, I expect the defense to endure most of the heady duties and the Patriots will get creative with their passing and blitzing tactics. . Double pressure, delayed pressure and edge pressure will likely be methods used in an attempt to disrupt and contain both Josh Allen and a resurgent Devin Singletary.


Each adversary will be ranked on a scale of 1-10. On this scale, the higher the number = the greater the threat specifically to the Bills.

Threat Assessment = 7.4

In closing, please follow The Buffalo Fanatics on all platforms, trust the process, and go Bills.

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