Key games between the Patriots and the Bills
It was the deciding game in the Patriots’ Week 16 loss, but it could also be the most uncertain of anyone heading into this game. The Bills have options at slot receiver, while the Patriots have choices to make.
Buffalo Main Slot Receiver Cole Beasley missed that Week 16 game after testing positive for COVID. In his place, the Bills went with a comeback specialist Isaiah McKenzie. McKenzie, who had played a game-high 20 snaps in the previous week and caught multiple passes in a game just once, tore through the Patriots defense with 11 catches for 125 yards and a touchdown.
Beasley returned to the role for the final two games of the season, playing 79 snaps combined. Still, McKenzie has been more involved since his performance playing 46 snaps over the same period. Will the Bills continue to lean on Beasley or will they go back to McKenzie after what he did to the Patriots last time out?
This question is only half the equation in this game. Who the Patriots use as their lead cornerback is also up in the air. The last time was Myles Bryant, who struggled in this match with McKenzie. Bryant also missed the Patriots’ last reserve/COVID roster game.
Behind Bryant though, the Patriots are slim. The only other true cornerback on the active roster of Shaun Wade, who has been on the reserve/COVID list since Monday.
On the practice squad, the team has D’Angelo Ross as a second option. Ross played well after being recalled at the end of the season. There is also De’Vante Bausby, who has yet to play a game this season, and Cre’Von The White, which was signed on Tuesday.