The Buffalo Bills suffered a surprising 24-21 loss to the New England Patriots in Week 4 of the NFL season, ending their three-game winning streak and allowing the Patriots to tie them for the division lead. However, despite the setback, the Bills are still the best team in the AFC East and have a good chance to win their first division title since 1995.
Patriots exploit Bills’ weaknesses
The Patriots were able to expose some of the Bills’ weaknesses in the game, especially on defense and special teams. The Bills allowed the Patriots to rush for 188 yards and two touchdowns, with rookie running back Rhamondre Stevenson leading the way with 106 yards on 11 carries. The Bills also gave up a crucial 75-yard punt return touchdown to Gunner Olszewski in the third quarter, which gave the Patriots a 21-13 lead.
The Bills’ defense, which ranked second in the league in points allowed and third in yards allowed entering the game, failed to generate consistent pressure on Patriots quarterback Mac Jones, who completed 19 of 26 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown. The Bills also committed nine penalties for 79 yards, including a costly roughing the passer call on Jerry Hughes that extended a Patriots drive in the fourth quarter.
Bills’ offense still potent
Despite the loss, the Bills’ offense still showed signs of being one of the most potent in the league, led by quarterback Josh Allen, who threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 39 yards and another score. Allen connected with wide receiver Stefon Diggs for a 17-yard touchdown in the first quarter, and with tight end Dawson Knox for a 6-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Knox also had a career-high 117 receiving yards on five catches.
The Bills also got some contributions from their running game, with Devin Singletary rushing for 58 yards on 11 carries, and Zack Moss adding 30 yards on eight carries. The Bills averaged 4.6 yards per carry as a team, and scored two rushing touchdowns. The Bills finished with 374 total yards and 22 first downs, and converted 7 of 14 third downs.
Bills have favorable schedule ahead
The Bills have a chance to bounce back from their loss and regain control of the AFC East, as they have a favorable schedule ahead. The Bills will face the Houston Texans, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Tennessee Titans, the Miami Dolphins, and the Jacksonville Jaguars in their next five games, none of whom have a winning record as of now. The Bills have already beaten the Dolphins 35-0 in Week 2, and have a chance to avenge their AFC Championship loss to the Chiefs in Week 5.
The Bills also have the advantage of having a more balanced and explosive offense than the Patriots, who rely heavily on their running game and defense. The Bills have scored 134 points in four games, the second-most in the league, while the Patriots have scored 83 points, the 24th-most. The Bills also have a better point differential than the Patriots, with a plus-64 compared to a plus-9.
The Bills have proven that they are a legitimate contender in the AFC, and have the talent and coaching to overcome their loss to the Patriots. The Bills are still the favorites to win the AFC East, and have a good chance to make a deep playoff run.