Although the Patriots already clinched the AFC East title last Sunday against the Steelers, their game against the Bills at home in Week 16 is still being viewed as just as big of a game.
While there may not be a lot riding on the game in the divisional standings, the Patriots are still looking to lock up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with two wins or a Steelers loss over the last two weeks of the regular season. Even then, that’s not the biggest story of the day.
The top storyline heading into Sunday has to do with the scuffle from Week 13 between Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White. Gronkowski was suspended for one game after delivering a late hit to White on the ground the last time these two teams met, one that sent White into the concussion protocol.
Even with the heat between the two teams after that incident, Patriots safety Devin McCourty said that the game itself will be the reason both squads are fired up on Sunday.
“It’s going to be like a playoff atmosphere,” McCourty said. “I don’t think either team is going to need what happened last game to get them going”
Patriots linebacker Elandon Roberts said that the Patriots aren’t focused on the Gronkowski incident at all, and are determined to move forward in their push for home-field in the playoffs.
“We don’t even think about it or talk about it,” Roberts said. “At the end of the day, we’re all NFL guys. That happened then, we’re past that. All our focus is on getting ready for the game.”
Even White is over the late hit, and said he and the Bills are looking to get their revenge in the form of a win.
“That was just childish,” White said. “I got over it, and I’m passed that. I’m just focused on winning.”
The two teams will face off on Christmas Eve at 1 p.m. in Foxboro, with the Patriots looking to further their lead atop the AFC with a win.
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