The New England Patriots will match up against the Buffalo Bills for the third time this season, but Saturday night’s matchup will determine who moves on in the NFL playoffs.
Looming over the game at Highmark Stadium is the wicked weather that’s supposed to strike the Buffalo area by kickoff. According to FOX Weather, temps in Buffalo could reach 10 degrees while the wind chill could make it feel like it’s well below freezing.
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The Patriots beat the Bills earlier this season in a game affected by wild weather. But if you ask Patriots coach Bill Belichick, he’s more concerned about the players on the field rather than how cold it is outside.
“We’ve practiced in just about everything we could, any type of conditions we could have and played in quite a few as well. There’s no way to turn the temperature down, up, or anything else. It is what it is out there,” Belichick said.
“I think, over the course of the year, we’ve dealt with, again, almost everything. I have a lot of confidence in our players. Through the course of their careers, they’ve dealt with multiple situations of all various types, so, hopefully, we’re prepared for that. I’m more worried about the Bills than the weather. I think the Bills are what we have to focus on and that’s who we have to beat. The weather is the weather.”
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Stopping Josh Allen and the Bills’ offense, which is third in points scored and fifth in yards gained, is more of a concern for Belichick.
“We have to prepare for everything. It really comes down to team defense and fundamental execution, doing that the very best that we can. Again, obviously, they have a lot of great players, they’re well-coached, and they have a good scheme. All that’s challenging, but that’s what we have to do. We’ve matched up with them before,” he said.
“We’ll match up with them again here and see how it goes, but it’s really the execution of good fundamentals and consistency. I’m sure they’ll make some plays. I’m sure we’ll make some. Hopefully, we’ll make more than they will, but this is a good football team. Offensively, they’re very good. The quarterback’s very good. I think it’s unrealistic to think we’re going to go through the game and he’s not going to do anything, but we just need to make more than he does.”
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It’s New England’s first playoff appearance in the post-Tom Brady era. Mac Jones will be the first rookie quarterback to start a playoff game since Dak Prescott in 2016.