BOSTON (CBS) — It’s December. The NFL season is entering its final two weeks. This is exactly the time of year when the Patriots typically turn into an unstoppable machine, and the rest of the AFC East gets out of their way.
But might this year actually be different?
The Buffalo Bills are 8-6 and are very much alive in the quest to earn the franchise’s first postseason berth since 1999. Though the Bills’ playoff scenarios are complicated, they would give themselves a much better chance of reaching the postseason if they can manage to beat the Patriots on Christmas Eve at Gillette Stadium.
It may sound crazy … but the Patriots have lost twice at home this year … and the Bills just defeated the Dolphins, who had just beaten the Patriots. Is there a chance the Bills actually take out the Pats on Sunday?
“Well, there’s always a chance, and that’s why you play on Sundays,” said WBZ-TV Sports Director Steve Burton. “But here’s what was good that came out of that game last week for the Patriots against Pittsburgh: They won by the skin of their teeth. So [Bill] Belichick brings everyone back down, even though it was a hat and T-shirt day, they escaped Pittsburgh with that win. So everybody’s back down to earth, they know what they have to do, they know they need to take care of business. They also know they’re at home. Yes, they’ve lost at home, but they know this is after Thanksgiving, this is the final two games of the regular season. Now we’re heading toward the playoffs, and they know that they’ve got control.”
The other element at play Sunday, beyond the postseason stakes, will be whether the Bills try to seek revenge on Rob Gronkowski for his hit on Tre’Davious White in Week 13.
“Well if the Bills do it, they’re stupid. Because they’re playing for their playoff lives as well,” Burton said. “And [Bills head coach Sean] McDermott stressed this. He made it a point to say, ‘Listen, we’re going to forget about the Gronk play, we’re going to forget about what happened, we’re trying to win this football game.’ And that’s what the players have to do. Now, obviously, there’s some emotion that carries over. And they haven’t forgotten what happened. … They want retaliation, but if they do, it’s just a dumb way to go about it, because the Patriots have too many weapons.”
CBS Boston’s Michael Hurley said there are better ways to seek retribution than taking an eye-for-an-eye approach.
“I think the best way to retaliate is to beat the Patriots,” Hurley said.
It’s the best way, but it certainly isn’t the easiest.
Hurley and Burton also discussed how Sunday’s wild finish in Pittsburgh will affect both the Patriots and Steelers going forward, and whether Tom Brady has done enough to secure his third NFL MVP Award. Watch the video above!
Tune in to Bills-Patriots on WBZ-TV on Sunday at 1 p.m. Coverage begins with Patriots GameDay at 11:30 a.m., and concludes with Patriots 5th Quarter on WBZ-TV after the game ends.