The Buffalo Bills will look to keep some ground in their Week 17 game and take one step closer to another AFC East title.
With that, here are seven things to watch for during Week 17’s Bills-Patriots matchup:
Playing time at WR
Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis (13). (AP Photo/John Munson)
In recent weeks, younger players at wide receiver have caught some attention. Last time we saw Gabriel Davis, he scored twice. A week ago, Isaiah McKenzie had a 125-yard outing.
How do the Bills juggle these four on offense?
Offense being aggressive
Bills quarterback Josh Allen (USAT photo)
It sounded like Bills quarterback Josh Allen liked how aggressive his team was on offense against the Patriots. He even mentioned it provided a bit of a confidence boost.
Does Buffalo roll a similar plan out against the Falcons?
Holding down Pitts & Patterson
Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts (8) Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
If the Falcons get going on offense at all this season, chances are rookie tight end Kyle Pitts is involved. We’ve discussed how important he is to shut down all week. However, saying and doing are two different things.
Another player to watch for: Cordarrelle Patterson, the versatile running back/ wide receiver. He can do a lot.
Last time vs. Matty Ice
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Ryan, Hall of Famer? At 36, the former MVP is nearing the end of his career and he rarely faces the Bills. Only three times.
Whether or not Ryan does end up in Canton one day, he’s probably facing Buffalo for the last time… if you’re into that sort of thing.
But could it be close?
A.J. Terrell #24 of the Atlanta Falcons . (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
So here’s a weird stat: The Bills are 0-5 in one-score games. The Falcons are 7-2.
How? What? Why? Just something to keep in mind if Atlanta keeps things interesting.
Last minute COVID changes
Bills offensive tackle Dion Dawkins (73) (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
For better or for worse, the Bills have been hit by last minute COVID changes multiple times in recent weeks. Most recently, Dion Dawkins returned from the COVID list just before kickoff a week ago.
Any such thing happen again before kickoff vs. Atlanta? What about the opposite direction like someone testing positive? Let’s hope it’s not the latter.
Back-to-back good O-line outings?
Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Dion Dawkins (73) . (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
The Buffalo offensive line had a surprisingly… good day at the office last week? That’s true. Now, not to sounds too crazy, but could it be done in back-to-back fashion?
Not only have Dion Dawkins and Jon Feliciano returned from the COVID list, the Falcons are simply pretty bad at getting to the QB. Atlanta has a NFL low 16 sacks this season and rank second to last in QB hits.