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Patriots vs Bills: 3 MNF Matchups To Watch

  • The Draft Network
  • December 6, 2021
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Monday night's inner-divisional contest between the red-hot New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills has the makings of must-watch television. It will mark the first of two meetings between these storied foes, and there's little to separate them in the standings. 

The surging Patriots are on a six-game winning streak. New England's recent form has catapulted them to first place in both the AFC East and the entire AFC. Bill Belichick's improved Patriots are currently in line to earn the first-round playoff bye, as well as home-field advantage throughout the playoffs leading up to Super Bowl LVI.

Sean McDermott's Bills enter the contest particularly well-rested, having last played on Thanksgiving in a dominant showing against the New Orleans Saints. A victory over the Patriots would see Buffalo reclaim first place in the ever-competitive division while bringing the Patriots back down to earth. 

Monday's showdown between these two familiar opponents may be the biggest game of the 2021 regular season thus far. Here are three player-versus-player matchups we’re particularly excited to monitor.

STEFON DIGGS VS. J.C. JACKSON

We couldn’t possibly start with anything else, seeing that the dream matchup of Diggs versus Jackson promises to be the marquee battle of the night. Jackson is a true shutdown corner and has been in rather incredible form throughout the current campaign. Jackson trails Dallas' Trevon Diggs (9) for the league lead in interceptions by just two (7). Jackson has been red-hot as of late, having recorded four interceptions in his latest four showings. Jackson also leads the league in passes defended with a healthy 16 and forced a fumble in New England's Week 13 brushing aside of the Tennessee Titans. Jackson is simply put living around the football.

Jackson will be tasked with eradicating Diggs from Buffalo's offensive game plan, a tall task for even a corner as talented as Jackson. Diggs has followed up last year's incredible season in solid form, having totaled 67 receptions for 847 yards and seven touchdowns in Buffalo's first 11 contests. It’ll be Goliath vs. Goliath on Monday. 

MATTHEW JUDON VS. DION DAWKINS

A suffocating defense that is currently allowing a league-low 15.8 points per contest has served as the backbone to New England's success. We showcased the impact Jackson is having, but fellow stud defender Matthew Judon has been equally as productive in 2021.

New England lured Judon away from Baltimore by handing him a lucrative four-year, $56 million contract and Judon has earned every penny of his shiny new contract thus far. Judon currently leads the team in sacks with a career-high 11.5 in just 12 games. Judon is a versatile defender that has reached new heights under Belichick's tutelage. New England's physically imposing front seven has represented the ideal fit for Judon's skill set.

Judon will line up almost exclusively opposite the left tackle on third down, which means he will encounter Dion Dawkins on Monday night, who serves as Josh Allen's blindside protector. Dawkins has been credited with allowing just four sacks in 2021 and has earned himself a solid grade of 75.7 in pass protection, via Pro Football Focus. This should be an excellent matchup.

LEVI WALLACE VS. KENDRICK BOURNE AND NELSON AGHOLOR

Disaster struck for the Bills a week ago when they lost shutdown cornerback Tre'Davious White to a season-ending knee injury. It represents a significant blow for an excellent secondary that's currently allowing a stingy 178.5 passing yards per contest. White's injury places further emphasis on fellow starting outside cornerback Levi Wallace, who will undoubtedly be featured on a more consistent basis going forward.

Wallace's first test will be an underrated one, as he's in line to see plenty of Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor on Monday night. Bourne experienced his first multi-touchdown game of the season in New England's Week 13 drubbing over the Titans, securing five-of-six targets for 61 yards and a pair of receiving touchdowns. Bourne should see somewhere between four-to-eight targets against Buffalo. 

Wallace is unlikely to shadow Bourne on a snap-by-snap basis, which means he should see plenty of Agholor on the other side as well. Agholor is having a quieter season but is fully capable of producing the occasional big showing. Wallace will have his hands full on Monday.

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