DEFENSIVE SCORES- If the 2022-2023 Patriots do not score a defensive or special teams touchdown, they generally do not win. So in addition to slowing down Josh Allen and the Bills' offense, the defense also needs to turn turnovers directly into points. Getting the offense in good field position really isn't good enough for this year's squad.
USE THE SIDELINE- Josh Allen makes a lot of plays near the sideline. Do not assume he is going to step out bounds. He's burnt just about every defense with at least one play down the sideline. While last year it was usually of the variety of running down the sideline, this year he's had several times of just chucking the ball downfield. For the most part those ill-advised passes have turned up roses for Josh. We can't have that today. If he's going towards the sideline, he needs some help stepping out. If players are in coverage and think he's about to step out of bounds, clear those thoughts and stay in coverage. The other place the defense needs to use the sideline to their advantage is on receptions. It's hard because frequently those sideline throws look like they are up for grabs and interceptions are sexy. Of course not intercepting the ball and giving up a key first down on the sideline isn't. So on those sideline passes the Patriots need to be certain that the Bills do not catch the ball. This is pretty much the game of the week, so there will be plenty of cameras to show all of the angles.
CONTAIN- I love quarterback sacks as much as anyone, but Josh Allen can turn a 10 yard loss into a 30 yard gain in a hurry. If the team focuses first on containing him and second on bringing him down, I think we will be much more effective. Hands in the passing lanes all day.
PATRICIA- I think Matt Patricia can probably draw up a terrific game plan, but getting the team to execute the game plan isn't happening. With all of the turnover with the coaching staff, there doesn't appear to be as much attention to detail. I think once the game starts, it is moving too fast for Patricia to be the play caller. The guy is smart, but he also seems to need more time than there is between plays.
MAC- I think Mac Jones falls into the same lines with processing. I've recently heard radio callers and talk show hosts say that he's really smart and needs to be using a more complex offense because he is such a good decision maker. Personally, I don't see that whatsoever. When he played with Alabama he could just sit in the pocket and choose from 3 wide open guys. As long as he made a decent throw he was going to look good. That is not what's going to happen in the NFL.. In my opinion, Mac freaks out when the play is called in. If he's mad about the play call, I don't care. What I do care about is that he seems to waste time between the play being sent in and getting the message delivered. No matter what the play call is, if you are sitting in shotgun and regularly snapping the ball as the play clock expires, you are a sitting duck. There have been several instances this season when it looked like Mac was kindly waiting for the defense to get set before snapping the ball.
Wow, I was bit long winded there. If Matt and Mac could both get the play calls in a second faster today, I think it would really help the offense get into a flow and avoid the dreaded 3 and out. In our last matchup, the Patriots had 4 3 and outs in the first half. On the season the Patriots are 28th in the NFL with 0.08 punts per play. The Bills are #1 with 0.04.
SHORT YARDAGE- With short yardage plays, the Patriots seem to make some boneheaded play calls and end up losing yards. Last week they finally ran goal line plays from under center and actually punched the ball in. I'm going to take some credit and assume that someone employed at Patriot Place read my post about first and goal. With both Rhamondre and Damien available and relatively healthy, can we not just get the first down without trying to be cute today? Since we haven't done that all season, it will surely come as a surprise to the Bills' defense.