The New England Patriots have gone through the toughest part of their schedule and came out the other end 12-2 and one win away from another AFC East championship.
Standing in the way of a first round bye and home field throughout the playoffs is the 4-10 Buffalo Bills.
The Bills are not a very good football team. They give up nearly 160 yards rushing every time they take the field. Their offense, especially now that Lee Evans is on injured reserve, is questionable at best.
If they do anything well it’s defend against the pass (they’re 7th in the NFL in pass defense), but that is probably a little misleading because of how well teams have run against them.
Basically, the Bills are a bad football team. They’re probably the worst football team the Patriots have seen all year long.
But don’t tell that to Bill Belichick.
“I’ve really been impressed watching Buffalo here the last few days,” Belichick said during his Wednesday press conference. “The last six weeks after the bye week, after that 0-8 start, they’ve really played well and won four of the last six. They lost a tough one to Pittsburgh that they probably deserved to win, but we all know how that goes.”
Really Bill? They’ve played well recently? Really?
“They’ve won four of the last six games. How would you say that is? There’re not a lot of teams that are doing better than that over the last six weeks in the National Football League. Not a lot.”
OK then, let’s play along.
The Bills have won four out of their last six games. Those four wins have come against highly questionable opponents.
The Bills beat the Detroit Lions, who have 4 wins this season. They then had a miraculous come-from-behind 49-31 win over the 3 win Cincinnati Bengals. After losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings, they managed a 13-6 victory over the 5 win Cleveland Browns. Then finally, last week, they beat the nose-diving Miami Dolphins 17-14 in a game where the Dolphins missed 4 field goals.
Now, four wins against any NFL team is progress for the Buffalo Bills. But are they really playing well?
The Bills gave up 124 yards rushing to Cedric Benson, 151 yards rushing to Rashard Mendenhall, 107 yards rushing to Adrian Peterson, and 108 yards rushing to Peyton Hillis. In the two games that they really buckled down and stopped the run, against the Dolphins and Lions, they gave up 276 yards passing to Chad Henne and 323 yards passing to Shaun Hill.
Their defense simply isn’t good. Not even remotely. Barring a freak blizzard, the Patriots offense should put up a ton of points this weekend.
Come to think of it, the way Tom Brady plays in the snow, they’ll probably put up a ton of points even if there is a blizzard.
“It’s always tough against Buffalo,” Belichick argued. “They play well every week and I’m sure they’ll play well on Sunday. We’re going to have to go out there and try to play better than they do. But there’s no doubt about it; they’re a good football team. They’re playing well and I know that they’ll play well against us. We’ll just have to play and coach well against them. It’s a big challenge for us.”