FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — The Patriots and Bills play Monday for the first time this season, and it comes at a crucial time.
New England leads the AFC East by just half a game and head into Buffalo riding a six-game win streak, with their bye week on the horizon.
“What we’re doing right now is not so everybody can stroke our ego,” LB Matthew Judon said. “It’s not for everybody to jump on the bandwagon. It’s to prove it to ourselves.”
It’s a road game in a hostile environment on Monday Night Football. Head coach Bill Belichick said the team will be blasting music during practice to prepare.
“You’ve just got to block out the noise as best as you can, and it’s going to be loud, so you’ve got to prepare yourself mentally for that,” QB Mac Jones said.
“I think as a competitor you like that,” safety Devin McCourty added. “You like going on the road in a hostile environment. It bonds our team together.”
“It’s a division opponent, on the road, Monday Night Football. We’re both neck and neck, right there in the standings, so it’s definitely a defining game for both teams,” TE Hunter Henry said.
“I think you just have to stay in the moment up there,” captain Matthew Slater said. “There’s going to be some adversity when you play a good football team in a hostile environment. You just have to keep playing. Take it play by play and try not to let the game get too big for you.”
“It gives you that college vibe, that college feeling,” LB Dont’a Hightower added.
Last season, the Bills swept the Patriots for the first time since 1999 on their way to winning the division. Belichick and his players had high praise for the reigning AFC East champions, especially QB Josh Allen.
“His improvement has been tremendous from where it was three years ago. It’s just remarkable how good he has become,” Belichick said.
“The decision-making is at an all-time high, and it allows him to just be out there free with all the things he does well,” McCourty added.
“I loved watching him when I was in college and he was in the NFL, and seeing what he’s done in that offense … he’s done a great job,” Jones said.
As of Wednesday, the Patriots have added two key players to the COVID-19 list: RB J.J. Taylor and safety Kyle Dugger.
Kickoff for Monday’s game is scheduled for 8:15 p.m.