In one of the more surprising storylines of the 2019 NFL season, the Buffalo Bills and Devin Singletary are on their way to the playoffs. The Bills own a 10-4 record, only one game behind the New England Patriots for the AFC East lead.
Buffalo faces those very same Patriots on Saturday in a game that has playoff seeding implications. The Bills probably won’t take the division, but they could play spoiler to the Patriots, who are gunning for a top-two seed. Buffalo would like nothing more than to take revenge on a longtime rival. In order to do so, the Bills will need a big game from running back Devin Singletary.
When these two teams met in week 4, the Pats stole a victory away in Orchard Park. New England only won by six, but the final score doesn’t show how poorly the Bills performed offensively. Quarterback Josh Allen tossed three interceptions, and backup Matt Barkley added in one of his own. Neither threw a touchdown.
The only element of the offense that worked was the run game. Frank Gore piled up 109 yards on only 17 carries, good for 6.4 yards per carry. The Bills clearly found something that worked but had to go to the passing game due to their game-long deficit. Limiting Allen’s turnovers have to be limited in order for the Bills to have a chance in this game.
That’s where Singletary comes in. Buffalo has shown that they can run against the Patriots, and Singletary is definitely up to the task. He’s one of the most efficient running backs in the NFL, averaging 5.4 yards per carry. Head coach Sean McDermott should look to Singletary to keep the offense on schedule all day.
If the Bills fall behind the sticks and find themselves in third-and-long situations throughout the game, they have no shot at winning. Allen just can’t take on that burden yet.
Another reason Singletary needs to be heavily involved in the offense is the weather. The game is in Foxborough in December. Temperatures will be freezing, which is always a clear indicator that the running game will be especially active. Allen already has accuracy issues, so asking the young quarterback to drop back in the freezing cold seems like a recipe for disaster.
It may not seem like a big deal, but the Patriots are notoriously dominant in cold-weather games. Combine that with a defense that allows a league-best 12.9 points per game and running the ball becomes the best way of moving the offense.