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Cincy Jungle staff picks for ‘Thursday Night Football’ and open thread

Will the Bills be able to catch up with the Dolphins with a win over the Patriots?

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

Thursday Night Football is a very important game for the state of the AFC East and the Wild Card shakeout. The Buffalo Bills are currently (7-4) sitting behind the Miami Dolphins in the division. Meanwhile, New England is sitting just outside of a Wild Card spot after dropping to (6-5) and the New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals both improving to (7-4). With so much on the line what will this game come down to?

This is the first meeting between these teams this season. They will meet again to finish the season as well. One thing is for sure, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has noticed NFL defenses forcing quarterback Josh Allen to look more human and less like a demi-god sent here to be an unstoppable force at football. The one he may go back and look at most is the game against the Jets where the defense was able to force several mistakes and frustrate Allen.

One of the big challenges New England will have to overcome is containing Allen from not only scrambling, but also him extending plays to beat coverages that break down over time. That is a hard enough task when you factor in that you almost have to play some sort of 2-deep or shell defense to prevent this team from hitting home run balls to Gabe Davis or Stefon Diggs. It is a tall task, but the Patriots defense hasn’t been a slouch this season.

Buffalo will have to focus on getting the Patriots defense off the field by stopping the run. There is nothing New England would want to do more than be able to ride their rushing attack to controlling the clock and moving the ball without risking turnovers through the air as Mac Jones has struggled to return to his rookie form from last season.

Division games are always weird. Sometimes on paper it seems easy, but these coaches and players know each other so well that this could be a repeat of the Bills loss to the Jets. Where Buffalo’s offense doesn’t put up enough points to pressure the other team into being one dimensional.

Here is what the staff here at Cincy Jungle thinks will win this week. Check out the odds for tonight’s game courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook. And come join this post for tonight’s open thread!