FOXBORO, Mass. — It might not be quite as gnarly as the infamous three-pass game in 2021, but winds could significantly impact Sunday’s matchup between the Patriots and Bills.

The National Weather Service currently forecasts gusts of 32 mph and sustained winds of 22 mph through Sunday’s game at Gillette Stadium. Things could change ahead of the 1 p.m. ET kickoff, but the forecast hasn’t changed much since the beginning of the week.

For comparison, here’s the Buffalo data from Dec. 6, 2021, when Mac Jones and a comically run-heavy New England offense earned a 14-10 win despite swirling winds at Highmark Stadium:

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(All data via MesoWest.)
Max gust at kickoff: 29 mph
Sustained winds at kickoff: 23 mph
Max gust at 10 p.m.: none
Sustained winds at 10 p.m.: 22 mph

Nearly identical.

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Obviously, this could be bad news for the Patriots, who through six weeks have perhaps the worst special teams and passing-game units in the NFL. They need everything to go right for them to move the ball and put up points against a good Bills defense, and blustery conditions won’t help.

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However, there’s another side to the coin. In that 2021 game, Bill Belichick flexed his coaching prowess over Sean McDermott, correctly predicting the Bills would ignore the conditions and try to Josh Allen their way through a tough game. It didn’t work.

Could the stage be set for a similar outcome? We’ll just have to wait and see.

With all that said, there’s one big difference between the 2021 game and what we could see Sunday afternoon in Foxboro.

The first game saw temperatures in the low 30s with wind chills creating feel-like temps in the low 20s. There also was a lot of snow in the lead-up to kickoff, although most of it dissipated by halftime. Regardless, it was a really cold night in Buffalo.

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The current NWS forecast calls for gametime temperatures of 54 degrees, with no wind-chill data yet available. It’s also expected to be partly cloudy with no precipitation.

So, Sunday’s conditions probably won’t be as brutal as what the Patriots and Bills experienced two seasons ago. Plus, we still don’t have a good idea of how winds behave in the newly renovated Gillette Stadium.

But don’t be surprised if the weather is a factor during the game and a big talking point afterward.

Featured image via Mark Konezny/USA TODAY Sports Images