Will the winner of the Patriots-Bills Monday night showdown be the favorite in the AFC? | You Pod to Win the Game

Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson and Liz Loza discuss the enormous AFC East showdown between New England and Buffalo on Monday Night Football. Will the winner of this game give us enough confidence to call them an elite team and consider them the favorite in the AFC? Can the Bills be trusted? What about the Patriots? Wait to hear hear Charles list off New England’s 8 wins, it might influence your decision. Hear the full conversation on the You Pod to Win the Game podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.

Video Transcript

CHARLES ROBINSON: If the Patriots win this game, they beat Buffalo-- and it's been an uneven Buffalo team-- has that locked up pretty much we're like, oh yeah, that's it-- that's the AFC team now that is finally going to be able to grab this pole position and actually hang on to it? I mean, I know Baltimore, you know, in that number one seed, that still factors. But I guess is this the game where it kind of dispels any notion that there's something fraudulent about this Patriots team? Which I don't think there is, but we'll see.

LIZ LOZA: That's an interesting question. First of all, I expect the Patriots to certainly cover. I expect they would win. Bills are favored by 3. I'm anticipating that the Patriots will win. Last season, I believe the Patriots lost both times to the Bills, and I don't think Belichick lets that happen another year in a row.

I also feel like this is a game that could get out of hand for Josh Allen. Like, we've seen him have these up and down contests, and we can attribute some of those struggles to the lack of balance, like we talked about at the top of the show-- like, the lack of a steady running game for him to rely on. I do think this one gets out of control for him, particularly because Tre'Davious White isn't going to be active.

So now the secondary, which is still pretty good-- like, losing its biggest star, that could mean more passing opportunities for Mac Jones, who, by the way, his biggest credit, right, is that he doesn't make any mistakes. And he's certainly going to make fewer of them, if any, when you don't have the number one cornerback, arguably, in the league on the field. And so I do think that if Josh Allen gets into a little bit of a hole, we could see him pressing and Belichick just-- and Matt Judon, frankly-- like, taking full advantage of that.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah. I mean, I don't think-- it's not the team I would want to face when you're sort of, I guess, I would say one-dimensional, because let's be honest-- I mean, they really are. It's very much a passing-predicated offense right now. And not a big fan-- you know, even if the Patriots are still putting it back together, I never would want to go up against Belichick being a one-dimensional team, because that's the type of situation where he feasts.

And you know, let's be honest-- like, he hasn't always been completely successful-- OK, take away the best opposing player. Well, Stefon Diggs beat the living hell out of the Patriots the last time Bill Belichick tried to do that. And so the capability, obviously, is still there for the Buffalo Bills. But you know, even playing at home-- they've had every other since the bye-- really even before the bye.

So they lose to Tennessee going into the bye, then they beat Miami, lose to Jacksonville, beat the Jets, lose to Indianapolis, beat the Saints. I don't know what to think of the Bills. I just don't. I can't-- I'm kind of like, this has to be a game where I learn something about them in terms of consistency or ability to get themselves on the right track. But I guess by the same token, who are the Patriots going to have to beat for me to fully, 100% stamp that team as someone that I think even a rookie quarterback could push this into the postseason and actually make a Super Bowl run?

LIZ LOZA: Also just a side note-- feel like there is something very settling about Bill Belichick winning again. And it's not because of a return to normalcy or because of, like, Tom Brady or any of that. But I think it's really nice to see people who work very hard, regardless of whether or not they have tons of extras at their disposal, succeeding.

Like, it feels very wonderfully puritanical, and especially in a time where you wonder if consequence is a thing anymore, to see Bill Belichick be like, all right, fine, I'm going to work really hard. I'm going to think smarter than everybody else. Maybe I'm going to blur the lines between innovation and cheating, but I'm going to, like, get it done and focus. And I don't know. There's something, I think, soul-settling about success when you follow that pilgrimatic, if you will, blueprint.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Let me rattle off real quick the 8 wins that the Patriots have this season. And this is what-- I can't get over this. Beat the Jets, beat Houston-- those are terrible teams. I'm sorry, those are awful franchises, right? You beat the Jets again, beat the Chargers-- and we thought that was a big win. It's not. You can't trust the Chargers. The Chargers are not what we thought they were, so that's not even that impressive.

You beat the Panthers, which is a [BLEEP] show, OK? You beat the Cleveland Browns. [BLEEP] show part two, OK? You beat the Atlanta Falcons, you beat the Tennessee Titans, who are falling apart with injuries.

LIZ LOZA: And you beat them without Derrick Henry on the field.

CHARLES ROBINSON: And you beat them without Derrick Henry. on the field. That's the 8 wins. Like, that's the 8 wins. Like, not one of those teams-- maybe if Tennessee had been full strength, you know, but I look at those wins and I'm like, I don't see a single team-- I liked the Chargers at a point, now I don't. I don't know what the hell is going on there.

And yet-- so maybe this next stretch, two against Buffalo, one against Indianapolis, which is actually playing tougher than, you know, I thought they would be at this stage, has figured out what they are offensively-- maybe this now three-game stretch is really going to tell us the truth about what New England really is.