The Patriots may have won the NFL’s game of the year last Sunday evening in Pittsburgh, but the season is far from over.
New England needs to keep winning to secure the No. 1 seed in the AFC postseason.
The next task, then, is taking care of a Bills team that is still fighting for its own playoff life.
The Boston Globe writes that the biggest challenge Buffalo brings to Gillette Stadium on Sunday is the dangerous combination of running back LeSean McCoy and versatile quarterback Tyrod Taylor. The Globe also says the Patriots will be prepared for the unpredictable from a Bills team that broke out the Wildcat look when the teams met a few weeks ago. The Globe passes along center David Andrews shrugging off having a drink thrown at him as he headed to the locker room at Heinz Field last weekend. The Globe also notes that the Seahawks were fined $100,000 by the NFL for failures to follow the league’s concussion protocol.
The Boston Herald declares that Andrews as emerged as a “new-generational” leader for New England. The Herald writes that Dion Lewis may finally get his chance to get the job done on the goal line with Rex Burkhead dealing with a knee injury. The* Herald* predicts a 31-17 New England win on Christmas Eve.
The Providence Journal also looks at the threat that McCoy presents to the struggling Patriots run defense on Sunday.
ESPNBoston.com notes that Tom Brady is on the cusp of passing Peyton Manning for the most 12-win seasons in NFL history. ESPNBoston.com observes that Andrews showed great restraint after being hit with the drink thrown by a fan in Pittsburgh. ESPNBoston.com passes along Devin McCourty saying there will be no extra fireworks following the illegal hit Rob Gronkowksi put on Tre’Davious White the last time against Buffalo. ESPNBoston.com says the Patriots see plenty of differences with the Bills compared to the team New England beat less than a month ago in Buffalo.
WEEI.com writes that no matter what the Bills are saying, New England needs to be ready for chippy play against Buffalo on Sunday. WEEI.com notes that Burkhead and Alan Branch were the only Patriots absent from the practice field on Thursday.
NBC Sports Boston analyzes video that made quite a buzz on social media of former Patriots backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo leading his 49ers to victory last weekend.
NFL.com has San Francisco left tackle Joe Staley saying that Garoppolo has a “different aura around him.” NFL.com predicts a 34-17 Patriots win over Buffalo.
The Patriot Ledger says that McCoy has been on an historic run this season.
The Worcester Telegram notes that McCoy is still “a very dangerous player.”