It might not be overstating it to say the New England Patriots’ upcoming game might be the most important Week 8 contest for the franchise in decades — if not ever.
The Patriots have lost three straight games leading up to their matchup Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. With a loss, the Patriots will have an incredibly tough time clawing back to win the division, and could turn into fire sale mode at the Nov. 3 trade deadline.
However, if they win, they would be right back in the thick of the AFC East competition.
It’s also a big game for Cam Newton, who has been an abject disaster the last two games since returning from the COVID list. He was quick to call Sunday’s game a “must-win” from a team perspective, and a former NFL executive thinks it’s a big game for Newton from a personal perspective.
In an interview Friday on WEEI’s “Ordway, Merloni and Fauria,” Mike Lombardi indicated he believes the 31-year-old is playing for his career.
“I think he’s playing for his career,” Lombardi said, as transcribed by WEEI.com. “Look, everybody watches the tape. He’s going to be a free agent at the end of the year. He’s playing for his career. He has to show everybody he’s a starting quarterback. And he was doing it at the beginning of the season.
“I think he has a lot to prove to himself, first and foremost. That’s your biggest critic. I don’t think there is any doubt the sense the urgency. And he’s got to play better. He’s got to tune himself in. The one thing they can’t do is they’re not good enough to give away games. They’re not good enough to overcome turnovers. They’re not good enough to overcome the stupid mistakes they’re making. Throwing the ball to I-don’t-know-who. Having a third down and not being able to convert a third and short. They’re going to have to be able to do that. They’re going to have to be able to throw the ball more effectively.”
Newton is indeed going to have to take things to another level, especially considering the weapons at his disposal. Due to injuries to N’Keal Harry and Julian Edelman, every one of Newton’s wideouts Sunday went undrafted — either this year or in the past.