December 8, 2023


The Payments have one of many league’s prime quarterbacks and arguably the most effective go rush.

Josh Allen and the Payments have had super success in opposition to the Patriots over the previous couple of seasons. Jim Davis/Globe Employees

The 1-5 Patriots are in determined want of a win in Week 7. Sadly for them, they tackle a Payments workforce that is without doubt one of the most proficient within the league and has given them suits over the previous couple of seasons.

The Payments have gained six of the final seven matchups between the AFC East rivals and look to be each little bit of the workforce that’s gained the division the final three seasons. They’re off to a 4-2 begin, shedding to the Jets in extra time and the Jaguars abroad, and have delivered the 5-1 Dolphins their solely loss to date this season.

As Buffalo is a heavy favourite to win Sunday’s matchup, listed here are seven Payments gamers to observe when the Patriots take them on in Week 7.

Josh Allen

It’s no secret that Josh Allen has dominated the Patriots lately, however the stats are nonetheless ridiculous. 

The Payments star quarterback has accomplished 66.3 p.c of his passes for 1,564 yards, 18 touchdowns, and one interception in his final six video games in opposition to the Patriots. That comes out to a median of roughly 260 passing yards and three passing touchdowns per sport, averaging 7.7 yards per try and a 117.3 passer ranking. That’s not even together with the 240 dashing yards he has over these six video games, averaging 40 per sport.

So yeah, it’s no shock that the Payments have gone 5-1 in these video games with their solely loss coming in a windstorm. 

Allen nonetheless seems each bit the MVP candidate that he’s been the final three seasons by means of the primary six video games of this season as properly. He’s accomplished a league-best 71.7 p.c of his passes for 1,576 yards, 13 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions with a 102.8 passer ranking. 

There are some slight considerations surrounding Allen coming into Sunday’s sport. He’s coping with an damage to his throwing shoulder, which he suffered of their Week 6 win over the Giants. However he stated there’s “no concern” over the ailment, describing his placement on the damage report this week as extra of an damage administration subject. He’s additionally thrown an interception in every of the final two video games and in three of the final 4 video games, however Allen has nonetheless largely dominated, no matter turnovers.

James Prepare dinner

The second-year working again has had a little bit of an under-the-radar kind of a season to date. He enters Week 7 ranked sixteenth in dashing with 363 dashing yards. He’s additionally achieved it in an environment friendly method, dashing for 4.8 yards per carry, which is the 14th-best mark within the league amongst certified gamers. 

Prepare dinner had some success in opposition to New England as a rookie final season. He rushed for 64 yards on 4.6 yards per carry within the first matchup and 45 yards on 5 yards per carry within the common season finale, progressing because the season went alongside.

Whereas loads has gone unsuitable with the Patriots this season, the one space the place they’ve been sturdy at is defending the run. They’re fifteenth in dashing yards allowed, however third in dashing yards allowed per carry (3.4), largely protecting opposing working backs in test this season.

With Damien Harris out, Prepare dinner will probably carry much more of the burden on Sunday. 

Stefon Diggs

A giant purpose for Allen’s dominance over the Patriots the final three seasons is the arrival of the All-Professional receiver.

Diggs has dominated the Patriots simply as a lot as Allen has in that span. He’s recorded 43 receptions for 629 yards and 6 touchdowns over these video games, averaging 6.1 receptions and 89.9 receiving yards per sport. He solely has one sport the place he’s recorded fewer than 4 receptions and only one sport the place he’s posted fewer than 60 receiving yards over that stretch. 

Diggs did loads of that injury in opposition to J.C. Jackson as properly, whom the Patriots reacquired earlier in October after he signed with the Chargers final yr. He gave up 4 receptions for 87 yards and two touchdowns to Diggs within the Week 16 matchup in 2020. He additionally gave up 5 receptions for 69 yards to Diggs within the Week 16 sport in 2021, all per Professional Soccer Focus. 

The Patriots have achieved a nice sufficient job of protecting the opposing workforce’s No. 1 extensive receiver in test to date this season, even after Christian Gonzalez’s season-ending damage. They really rank first in DVOA in defending the opposing team’s No. 1 receiver this season, however Diggs would possibly find yourself being an exception. 

Leonard Floyd, A.J. Epenesa, Greg Rousseau

There’s a purpose why Invoice Belichick stated the Payments have the “greatest go rush” within the league and that their defensive linemen are “most likely probably the most disruptive” within the league.

The Payments lead the NFL with 24 sacks to date this season, getting a handful of gamers to file at the least just a few sacks this season versus only one or two gamers doing the vast majority of the injury. They’ve 4 gamers with at the least three sacks this season and 6 gamers who’ve recorded a number of sacks this yr, getting contributions all alongside their line of defense.

Their edge rushers, particularly, have all stepped up this season as Von Miller missed the primary 4 video games as he recovered from his torn ACL from final season. Floyd, who signed with the Payments in June after being launched by the Rams, couldn’t have requested for a greater begin to his tenure in Buffalo, already recording 6.5 sacks, which is the sixth-best within the league. He’s additionally achieved that whereas taking part in roughly half of the Payments’ defensive snaps to date this season.

In the meantime, Epenesa and Rousseau have constructed off their stable 2022 seasons with even stronger begins this season. Epenesa has 4 sacks this season, recording 15 complete pressures and 4 batted passes, per Professional Soccer Focus. Rousseau has three sacks with 17 pressures, however is the strongest run defender of the group of edgers rushers with 10 run stops, in line with PFF.

The Patriots caught a little bit of a break this week. Defensive deal with Ed Oliver, who has 4 sacks this season, will miss Sunday’s sport attributable to a toe damage and defensive deal with DaQuan Jones probably suffered a season-ending damage in Week 5 after recording 2.5 sacks to begin the season.

So, the inside of the Patriots’ offensive line gained’t have as robust of a battle, and the unit can use as a lot assist as it will possibly get as it still ranks among the worst in the NFL in several metrics. However it’ll nonetheless have its palms full on Sunday.

Micah Hyde

The star security delivered a game-defining play the final time he went up in opposition to the Patriots. Hyde recorded an over-the-shoulder interception of Mac Jones on a deep go to the tip zone in New England’s opening drive of what ended up being a 47-17 blowout playoff win for Buffalo.

Hyde ended up lacking each video games in opposition to the Patriots final season attributable to a neck damage he suffered in Week 2, ending his season prematurely. However the 32-year-old nonetheless seems each bit the All-Professional participant he was previous to the damage.

Hyde has 28 complete tackles this season and two interceptions, taking part in nearly each defensive snaps for the Payments to date. He’s allowed 11 receptions on 14 targets for 102 yards and a landing, largely protecting tight ends and working backs when he isn’t taking part in as a deep security.