He’s certainly not alone, as New England’s offense has been uncharacteristically pedestrian in recent weeks, creating plenty of debate as to whether the Patriots have what it takes to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
On Friday, Kellerman explained that he believes the Patriots will beat the Buffalo Bills in Week 16 to secure their 11th consecutive AFC East title. His stance wasn’t without some Patriots skepticism, however, as the outspoken ESPN pundit predicted Bills quarterback Josh Allen will outplay Brady this Sunday.
“I don’t think of either Tom Brady or Josh Allen as offensive powerhouses, but at least Josh Allen’s a dual-threat quarterback, which we see in the NFL. If you don’t have a lot of offensive help nowadays, you better be a dual-threat quarterback,” Kellerman said. “It’s interesting because if the Bills win this game, that will signal something new, because the division’s on the line. Could you imagine with the Patriots fielding an all-world defense this year — you could say, ‘Well, Brady doesn’t have this and that.’ Yeah, but still, they have Tom Brady and an all-world defense and Bill Belichick, and they lose the division to the Bills? That doesn’t happen. That’ll signal a sea change.
“And so I’m not actually picking the Bills to win the game, because Belichick now has a rematch. It’s bad enough going up against Belichick in the first place. Now he has film on you, so to speak. He has something he can study up on. … I think Belichick and Brady will figure out a way to have the game won, but if you’re just gonna isolate quarterback play, the fact that Allen can do two things and Brady can only do one and not all that well anymore, I like Josh Allen to have the better game.”
Even with a loss Sunday, the Patriots still can clinch a divisional crown with a win over the lowly Miami Dolphins in Week 17. That path would require extra effort and pressure, though, and losing to Buffalo could prevent New England from landing a first-round playoff bye. The 10-4 Kansas City Chiefs are nipping at the Patriots’ heels for the AFC’s No. 2 seed behind the Baltimore Ravens.
“I’m taking the Patriots, too, because until I see a sea change, like the Buffalo Bills, no excuses, season on the line, win the division by force, at Foxboro, I gotta go with Belichick, and Brady in that big moment where he won’t make a mistake, maybe something like that,” Kellerman added. “I’m just talking about which quarterback will outperform the other. That Bills defense — Brady’s been bad against pressure, bad against the blitz, fewest yards per attempt. Not good signals to be facing a ferocious defense. And maybe Belichick can do the same thing to Allen, but like you said, when he needs to do something, Josh Allen can run, Josh Allen has a big arm, he can pull a rabbit out of the hat maybe with physical tools that are no longer there for Tom Brady.”
While it’s hard to imagine the Patriots pulling off a victory if Allen outplays Brady, as Kellerman suggests, there’s no denying New England has found interesting ways to win games this season thanks to its elite defense and special teams units. Perhaps this Sunday will be no different.