Sitting at 2-4, Sunday’s game in Buffalo against the 5-2 might be one of the biggest divisional games for the Patriots in recent memory.
Falling to 2-5 would have them three games back in the loss column as well as losing the tiebreaker. In addition, it would be the Patriots’ fourth straight loss.
With Cam Newton struggling, and especially in the passing game, the Patriots’ rushing attack will be one of the biggest keys to the game.
And it’s not just because of the issues with the passing game.
Buffalo enters the game ranked 21st in the league in defending the run, allowing 100 or more yards in three straight weeks, including 245 against the Titans two weeks ago. Furthermore, the extended forecast calls for a rainy day Sunday with winds near 20 mph, but with gusts close to 40 mph.
How the Patriots run the ball could be the difference in the game. And it starts with Damien Harris.
With Sony Michel on injured reserve as well as the COVID list, the second-year player should be the lead back once again. After 100 yards in his first action against the Chiefs, he’s dropped off since.
Sunday could be a game to get him back on track.
With that being said, Buffalo should be fired up for the game as well since they haven’t won the division since 1995 and a win Sunday would go a long way to snapping that streak.
“This is a great football team,” center David Andrews said Wednesday. “They've got a really good front, front seven. Really good linebackers. In a division game -- we've only had really one division game, and that was the first one -- these are teams we're going to play twice a year, and we've played this team a lot. It's a big challenge. It's going to be a big challenge. And as a competitor, you've got to love that."