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Why Patriots Fans Shouldn’t Be Thrilled By Bills-Browns Location Change

It was bad enough already that NFL fans, from the comfort of their couch, won’t be able to take in what could have been a breathtaking aesthetic of the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns playing in a snowstorm on Sunday.

But the NFL moving the Bills-Browns game from Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., to Ford Field in Detroit due to a potentially historic snowstorm — which also is bad news for the New England Patriots.

While it might be naïve or even a pipe dream to think the Patriots can catch the Bills in the standings, it still is theoretically possible. With two straight losses and with franchise quarterback Josh Allen dealing with an elbow injury, the Bills have dropped to 6-3 on the season. That’s somehow only one game ahead of the 5-4 Patriots.

And even though the Patriots have plenty of flaws, particularly with their inept offense as of late, a win over the Jets wouldn’t come as a surprise since they are favored in the contest and have owned New York for the past several years. New England’s Week 8 road win over the Jets was its 13th straight victory against New York. And by topping the Jets again coupled with a Bills loss with the elements factoring in could have led to the two teams being tied in the AFC East.

But that’s scenario seems far from likely now. A snowstorm, especially one of epic proportions the Buffalo area is bracing for, would have evened the playing field between the Bills and Browns, and it might have actually favored Cleveland more. The Browns offense is built to run the football with Nick Chubb and is fifth in the NFL with with 158.8 rushing yards per game.

The Bills have the top offense in the league based on yardage, but is more dangerous through the air than on the ground. Buffalo’s passing attack would have obviously been mitigated in the elements as well as Allen’s dual-threat ability. Allen has been the Bills leading rusher the past two weeks with their running backs combining for 112 yards rushing on 32 carries, which is good for 3.5 yards per carry. Not awful, but definitely not a strength, either.

It’s tough to envision Allen’s power arm being very effective during a snowstorm, and who knows how his bothersome elbow would have held up in those conditions, too. In last year’s wind tunnel of game against the Patriots, Allen managed to completed 15-of-30 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown, but the Bills only put up 10 points.

Now, Allen and the Bills will have perfect conditions inside a dome stadium to tear apart Cleveland’s defense, which allows 26.4 points per game, the second worst mark in the NFL.

It felt like the Browns would have found a way to keep things close with the Bills as the elements played a real factor in turning the game into a slog. But that’s not a possibility anymore, which is a detriment to the Patriots.

The Patriots need all the help they can get to solidify a spot in the playoffs, and now they will have to look elsewhere for it.

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