Patriots Talk: The keys to Pats beating Bills on Sunday

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Patriots Talk: The keys to Pats beating Bills on Sunday originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The New England Patriots will look to take down the Buffalo Bills for the second time this month when they cross paths again on Sunday.

We can expect a much different kind of game this time around as the weather conditions at Gillette Stadium won't be nearly as harsh. We'll likely see plenty more from rookie quarterback Mac Jones after he threw only three passes in that Week 13 Pats victory.

Patriots-Bills Week 16 simulation predicts a wild outcome

So, what will Jones and the Patriots need to accomplish in order to emerge with a huge Week 16 victory? Tom E. Curran and Matt Cassel discuss in a new episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast.

Patriots Talk Podcast: Patriots-Bills and a very verified Christmas with Matt Cassel | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

"They're going to have to hitch their wagon to (Jones) this week, and he's going to have to play big this week in order for them to win this game," Cassel said.

Curran believes the game will come down to New England's ability to keep Buffalo's defense on the field as long as possible.

"My belief is for the Patriots to win this game, they need to shorten it," Curran said. "They don't need to be afraid of the Bills. The Patriots can score with some teams. But still, I would look at the Buffalo offense as one that I really want to keep on the sidelines. So ball control, short passing, don't fall behind. ... I see this game being kind of a rock fight even though it's two of the higher-scoring teams."

Cassel: Jones has earned right to be vocal leader

Cassel agrees with Curran's take and notes that if the Patriots can eliminate Bills star wideout Stefon Diggs, that could set up a clear path to victory.

"The one thing the Buffalo Bills don't have is the run game, unless it's with Josh Allen. I think that will be an interesting chess match right there," Cassel said. "If they don't have certain guys out there, and now you're kind of focused on just Stefon Diggs and you can take him out of the equation, now it comes down to playing good fundamental defense and shortening the game.

"Being able to run the ball, make sure they can stop the run, and then control the ball and keep them on the sideline as much as possible. But it's got to be a clean game. There can't be the mistakes you had against the Colts or there's no way you're going to win any of these games."

Also discussed in this episode: Celebrating Cassel’s recent Twitter verification and his very Christmastime memories. Discussing the Patriots’ playoff odds and whether or not the loss to the Colts is a concerning sign of things to come. How do the Patriots shut down Josh Allen and the Bills offense? Cassel explains why Mac Jones needs to continue to speak up, despite being a rookie. And are Sean McDermott’s sideline blowups something that could negatively impact his team’s performance?

Check out the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network, or watch on YouTube.