Bills Coaches Prepare for Wild Card Chess Game with Patriots

Leslie Frazier said he hadn’t heard of reports that the Chicago Bears wanted to interview him for their vacancy as head coach after he spent Monday preparing for a third meeting with the New England Patriots.

Call it a byproduct of the short week.

“It’s almost like being in a cave and working as hard as you can to get up to speed,” Bills defensive coordinator said Monday night.

It’s been 35 days since the Patriots defeated the Bills 14-10 on a blistering Monday night at Highmark Stadium. It’s only been 15 days since the Bills retaliated with a 33-21 win at Foxborough, ultimately paving the way for a second straight AFC East title.

Both teams have five days to prepare for the trilogy’s final, a win-or-go-home Wild Card game at Orchard Park on Saturday night. The chess match started Monday.

“That way, they’re incredible at how they can change things and what Coach (Bill) Belichick is doing to stay one step ahead,” said Bills head coach Sean McDermott. “So we clearly have our work ahead of us. It’s a short week here in some ways, so we need to get ready to leave in a short time. So that’s going to be the challenge for us.”

The Patriots were stubborn in their devotion to the run on the first encounter, attempting just three passes amid winds ranging from 25 to 30 miles per hour. They landed a total of 222 yards, including a 64-yard run from Damien Harris that accounted for half their points. They brought in a sixth offensive lineman – Mike Onwenu – on 29 of 46 runs.

Three weeks later it was a different story. The Patriots — probably a byproduct of both calmer weather and playing from behind — threw the ball 32 times and ran it 27 times. The Bills, who could rely on their base defense more often, kept rookie quarterback Mac Jones at a season low of 31.4. appreciation for passers-by.

There are many questions prior to meeting No. 3. How heavily will the Patriots lean on their run game? What role will the weather play? How heavy will the bills be for Isaiah McKenzie, who – starting in the absence of Cole Beasley – amassed a career high 125 yards on 11 catches in the win at Foxborough? How would the patriots counter McKenzie’s involvement?

“There’s a good familiarity with the players and the matchups and things like that, but you know, schedules change,” said offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. “Every game is its own game, especially against a team like this that can no longer be true.”

Here are more notes from Monday’s media sessions with McDermott, Daboll and Frazier.

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