Morning Sports Update

Ryan Clark explained why the game vs. the Bills is ‘tailor-made for Bill Belichick and the Patriots to win’

Clark thinks the Patriots are "going to take the mantle as the team to beat in the AFC."

Patriots Bills prediction
Bill Belichick watches during a Patriots practice on Dec. 2, 2021. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

The Bruins defeated the Predators in Nashville on Thursday, 2-0. Jake DeBrusk and Brandon Carlo scored for Boston.

Tonight, the Celtics are in Utah to play the Jazz at 9 p.m.

And tomorrow at 7 p.m., the Boston Pride host the Toronto Six at Warrior Ice Arena.

Previewing Patriots-Bills: The stakes for the Monday night matchup between the Patriots and Bills in Buffalo are enormous. Each team will enter the game with four losses, and the winner will take a large (though not decisive) step towards an AFC East crown.

New England, riding a six-game winning streak, has been increasingly seen as a legitimate contender. One person picking the Patriots is former NFL safety (and current ESPN analyst) Ryan Clark.

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Speaking on a Friday morning “Get Up!” segment, Clark identified the absence of Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White—out for the season with a torn ACL—as a major factor.

“The strength of this team has been the secondary,” Clark said of the Bills. “So now when you can’t play that man-to-man coverage, when you can’t do some of those things that he allows you to do, you have to get some softer boxes. The one football team in this league you don’t want to play a softbox against is the New England Patriots. They have a two-headed monster at the running back position. They have an extremely physical offensive line, and they have an offensive coordinator in Josh McDaniels that will run the football down your throat until you stop them.

“I think that’s going to be a huge part of this football game, and doing that also keeps Josh Allen off of the football field,” Clark explained.

In sum, he sees Monday night as a perfect opportunity for New England.

“To me, this is a game tailor-made for Bill Belichick and the Patriots to win,” Clark noted. “This is a game that they go into fully confident. It’s the best road team in football. It’s a quarterback that’s not afraid to do what’s asked, and a coach that understands winning games when you may not have the most talent at the most important position. They’re going to do that Monday night, and they’re going to take the mantle as the team to beat in the AFC.”

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Trivia: The last time the Patriots won in Buffalo was in 2019, when New England emerged victorious 16-10 in a low-scoring battle. A Bills running back led the game in rushing with 109 yards. Name that Buffalo running back.

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: He was a member of the 2001 National Champion Miami Hurricanes.

More from Boston.com:

Ridiculous stat from a record-setting night: The Grizzlies demolished the Thunder on Thursday night, 152-79. It was the largest margin of victory in NBA history, and yet that barely scratches the surface on absurd stats from the game. Here’s another one:

Bill Belichick’s preview of the Bills:

On this day: In 1968, the Celtics defeated the Bucks 137-115 behind 41 points from John Havlicek. Future Hall of Fame coach Don Nelson scored 20 for Boston, while Bill Russell contributed his regularly astounding stat line of 15 points, 25 rebounds.

Celtics

Daily highlight: Alex Caruso’s no-look pass setup Nikola Vucevic’s thunderous dunk in a Bulls win on Thursday.

Trivia answer: Frank Gore

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