The Patriots come into this game as vulnerable as we have seen them in a long time. Despite the gaudy record and the usual place atop the AFC East, this looks like the beginning of the end of the Patriots dynasty. Future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady has been mediocre this year, and has looked worse as the weeks have gone by. A Patriots team that used to dominate through the air suddenly has a passing offense that can’t get it done. The Patriots have failed to clear 225 yards of passing offense in four of their last five contests. They haven’t beaten a team with a current winning record since September. They are 3-3 in their last six games, and their once feared offense has failed to score more than 22 points in six of their last seven games. Only the brilliance of the Patriots defense, perhaps the best defense in the NFL, has prevented the Patriots from falling into the void of playing meaningless games in December. That defense has forced a ridiculous 36 turnovers this season, and it is those forced turnovers that have the Patriots still clinging to first place in the AFC East by one game over the Bills.
The Bills come into this game in many ways a mirror image of the Patriots. Their offense strikes fear in nobody. The Bills have scored 20 points or less in eight of 14 games this season. The Bills quarterback, Josh Allen, is no better than the mediocre Tom Brady, not to mention he lacks the Hall of Fame pedigree. The Bills win like the Patriots win, with a great defense and just enough offense. The Bills have beaten only two teams with a current winning record all year, including last week’s 17-10 win over a Pittsburgh Steelers team that was playing without a quarterback. The Bills might not be quite ready to take over the division yet, but the Patriots seem pretty ripe to surrender it, if not this year, then soon thereafter, if any other team in the division has what it takes to grab it.
It’s the Patriots and the Bills in the AFC East showdown that highlights the NFL’s Week 16 schedule. Enjoy the game everybody.