NFL Week 16: 5 Things To Know About Buffalo Bills V. New England Patriots
Who: New England Patriots (12-2) at Buffalo Bills (4-10)
Where: Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, NY
When: 1:00 pm kickoff
Line: Patriots by nine
For the third straight season, the New England Patriots travel to Buffalo in December.
The first meeting this year ended in a 38-30 Patriots victory. The Ryan Fitzpatrick era had just begun, as Trent Edwards was released prior to the game. In his first start of the season, Fitz went 20-28 for 247 yards with two TDs and two INTs.
Unfortunately for the Bills, his second interception came on the last effort drive down the field.
The Bills, who have won two in a row and four of the last five, look to keep the ball rolling this Sunday against Brady and the Patriots.
1: In Case You’ve Been Living Under A Rock, Tom Brady Having Another MVP Season
I'll get this out of the way and say that I can't stand Tom Brady.
Any Bills (or Dolphins/Jets) fan would say the same thing. But there's no denying he's having a tremendous season.
Tom Brady is leading the league in passer rating (109.9), tied with Drew Brees for the most touchdowns (31), and has thrown the fewest interceptions in the NFL (four).
Brady, just two seasons removed from major knee surgery, has performed like he did when the Patriots were going to the Super Bowl every year. He began the season with a go-to receiver, throwing the ball up to Randy Moss. Then, when Moss was traded, Brady got back Deion Branch and has since been able to distribute the ball around to a plethora of receivers, including Branch, Wes Welker and Brandon Tate.
He’s also managed to make a household name out of Danny Woodhead and fantasy stars out of rookie tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski.
2: Brady’s Arm Could Be Laser-Guided
We are going into Week 16 this week.
Tom Brady’s last interception came in Week 6, against the Ravens.
He’s gone nine whole games without having a pass caught by the other team.
In that time he’s completed 66 percent of his passes and has thrown 21 touchdowns.
That’s a 21-0 TD/INT ratio over nine games.
If that isn’t MVP worthy, I don’t know what is.
3: Tom Brady Is 17-1 Against the Bills
Tom Brady took over as the Patriots' starting quarterback in 2001. Since then the Buffalo Bills have beaten Tom Brady once, being outscored 486-235.
It came on opening day in 2003, when Tom Brady threw four interceptions, including one to a 300 pound Sam Adams who returned it for a touchdown.
Here are Brady’s lifetime stats against Buffalo:
361-546 (66 percent), 4199 yards, 36 TDs, 12 INTs, with a 102.0 QB rating.
And let me repeat, 17-1.
4: If You Haven’t Figured Out Who Danny Woodhead Is, You Will After Sunday
Woodhead was picked up by the Patriots before Week 2 off the Jets’ practice squad. He saw his first action in a Pats uniform in Week 3 against Buffalo. And that’s where the coming out party began.
Since then, Woodhead has been a stellar contributor to the Patriots, both on the ground and through the air.
Through 12 games, he’s averaging 5.3 yards per carry, 11.2 yards per catch and has scored five touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving).
Woodhead could shine in his second match-up against the Bills, as Buffalo still possesses the league’s worst run defense, despite giving up only 75 yards this past week against the Dolphins.
5: Patriots Clinch Home Field with a Win
With their win over the Packers on Sunday night, New England improved to 12-2 and clinched at least a Wild Card spot. Next in line are the Jets, Steelers and Ravens, all at 10-4.
With only two games left to play, a Patriots win will secure them the best record in the AFC and home field advantage throughout the AFC Playoffs.
The Bills have already played spoiler once, beating the Dolphins in South Florida, dropping Miami to 7-7, which eliminates them from playoff contention. Buffalo would love nothing more than to continue the trend.
A win over New England could spoil the Patriots’ home field advantage.
Plus, a win over the Jets in the season finale could knock them out of the playoffs too, as San Diego and Jacksonville are both holding on at 8-6.