Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott has underlined the importance of his side’s clash with AFC East rivals New England Patriots in Monday Night Football (Money Line – Bills 20/29, Patriots 6/5).
The Bills (4/5 – to win AFC East) claimed their first divisional title in 25 years last season, ending the Patriots’ (EVS) 11-year dominance of the AFC East, but New England have come back fighting this year and currently top the standings with an 8-4 record that has been supplemented by an ongoing league-high six-game winning streak.
Buffalo are 7-4 for the season, but their cause has not been helped by surprise losses, including their Week Nine defeat to the struggling Jacksonville Jaguars.
Another setback at the Highmark Stadium on Monday could prove catastrophic to the Bills’ chances of retaining their divisional title and challenging for the No.1 seed in the AFC Conference, and McDermott is certainly under no illusions regarding the importance of the contest (Bills – 7/2 to win AFC Conference).
“We’ve got six games to go, that’s all we’re guaranteed at this point and we’ve got to take them one at a time,” the 47-year-old warned.
Left tackle Dion Dawkins also knows the Bills will face a tough challenge when the Patriots come to town, with the 27-year-old suggesting that other teams have been raising their game against Buffalo given they were the team to beat in the AFC East heading into the season.
“We have a huge target on our back and have had one the entire season,” Dawkins said. “Big ups to the Patriots because they’ve been playing great all year and they’ve been doing a good job and they’ve been rallying around their defense and they have been doing good things.”
The Bills (15/2 – to win Super Bowl LVI) could be boosted by the return of rookie right tackle Spencer Brown and veteran defensive tackle Star Lotulelei for Monday’s contest after both were removed from the Reserve/Covid list, although Efe Obada, Cody Ford and Reggie Gilliam are all rated as questionable.
Bill Belichick’s (above) side have no confirmed absentees, but David Andrews, Christian Barmore, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Brandon Bolden, Trent Brown and Nick Folk are all considered doubts.