The Buffalo Bills (11-6) will host the New England Patriots (10-7) on the opening weekend of the NFL postseason, in a red, white and blue all-AFC East affair. Kickoff for this AFC Wild Card game is slated fir Saturday night, Jan. 15 from Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York.
Given how evenly matched this series has been recently, many feel this is a game that is basically 50/50- it could go either way. The weather forecast looks absolutely nuts, once again, with single digit air temperatures expected, and wind chills will be far below zero. It is projected to be -17 degree Celsius, or 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit at kickoff.
The Buffalo Bills ended the regular season with the best defense in the NFL for the first time in over 20 years, allowing opponents just 272.8 yards per game. The back to back AFC East championships did this despite not having a single player named to the Pro Bowl. Many attribute the success to defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, who as a player was the starting safety for the 1985 Chicago Bears.
That team is widely considered to have the greatest defense of all time, and Frazier is now reported to be a leading candidate to become the next Bears Head Coach.
Despite the Bills having won back-to-back division championships for just the third time in their history, CBS Sports/Paramount Plus pundit Julian Edelman went with a blatant homer pick.
“I got to go with the Pats,” he said, prognosticating that his former team will get it done.
“Bill Belichick is playing in his 44th playoff game. Bill Belichick, he’s going to sit back there and he’s going to make the best decision for his team. They’re going to change it up on defense, they’re going to disguise on third down to try and confuse Josh Allen. They’re going to get it done.”
Also, check out this tweet from Mina Kimes, ESPN NFL Analyst: “What’s your goofiest sports take that you actually kind of believe? Mine is: If the Bills want to truly get the most out of Josh Allen, they gotta build a dome.
Josh Allen is 11-3 in games played below 40 degrees, and 3-1 in games below freezing, so we’re not sure where she’s going with that. Patriots QB1 Mac Jones, who went to Alabama, has never played in a sub-freezing temperature game.
Prediction: Bills 21, Patriots 19
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”