Sandwiched between two Thursday night games in a row, Bill Belichick and the Patriots kicked their week of Bills preparation off on Sunday as the team continues their stretch of primetime appearances. No reintroductions to the Bills were necessary, with Buffalo coming off a last-second win over the Detroit Lions for the second win in a row after dropping two straight for the first time this year, themselves also on a rare Thursday-Thursday slate.
Sitting at 8-3 but with two losses to AFC East opponents already and still looking for their first divisional win of the season, the Bills will come to Foxborough, a place they've won two straight, with purpose.
"Obviously, it's a really good football team," said head coach Bill Belichick, kicking things off after a player's day off on Saturday. "They do pretty much everything well. Good on offense, good on defense, good on special teams. Lead, or close to leading the league in a lot of categories, in all areas. It's obvious you can see why they're a good football team. Brandon [Beane] and Sean [McDermott] have put together a really good roster."
That good roster is headlined by Josh Allen, whom Belichick highlighted as a potential MVP candidate. Belichick and the Patriots have now seen firsthand how capable Allen is of taking over a game and once again they'll try to solve him with the winds of winter slowly getting colder as the playoff race approaches.
"[Josh] Allen's the leading rusher, so that tells you all you need to know about what you have to defend every time he touches the ball, it could be any number of things and does them all well. Great player, certainly an MVP candidate. He does a lot for their team in a lot of ways," said Belichick.
"Rush together, containing the quarterback is an art," said Deatrich Wise of what it takes against Allen. "We all have to all rush together and mirror our rush up with the coverage."
Defensively, Buffalo can be nearly as challenging, thriving behind a potent pass rush that is expected to be without Von Miller this week.
"When they get the lead, which they have had the lead a lot, play from ahead, crank the pass rush up," said Belichick. It's not an ideal passing situation. So try to stay out of long yardage. Try to stay from having to throw the ball on every down in the second half type of thing. Which they've gotten some teams into that situation. It's hard. But their players are good. They're instinctive. They don't give up a lot of big plays. They make you earn it, and they have a good pass rush."
Mac Jones attempted just three passes in his first game against Buffalo but threw four interceptions to just two touchdowns in the next two meetings of 2022. Coming off one of his best outings of the year, the Patriots quarterback assessed all the challenges the Bills pose.
"They're playing really good on defense like they have the past three years, definitely added a few things, they look like a really good defense, great players at every level, they rally to the ball," said Jones, meeting with the media on Sunday afternoon. "It's a great defense and a big challenge. We're just going to work and see where we're at."
"[We] know we're going to need to play our best game and that's what we're going to prepare to do this week," said Belichick.