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What to watch for in Bills-Patriots on 'Monday Night Football'

Having already clinched their first AFC East title since 1995, the Buffalo Bills (11-3) enter the final Monday Night Football game of the season no longer looking like the "little brother."

A win over the New England Patriots (6-8) would be a form of poetic justice Buffalo hasn't experienced in quite some time.

Here are three storylines to watch for when the Bills and Pats face off on MNF (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN):

Allen & Diggs eyeing milestones

What's not to love about Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs? If you're coach Sean McDemott, that should be a pretty short list. After connecting for 90-plus receiving yards in six of the last seven games, the first-time Pro Bowlers will look to do more damage than they did when these teams met in Week 7. Bad weather noticeably affected the passing game for both clubs but Diggs still managed to stand out, grabbing 92 of Allen's 154 yards in a 24-21 win. It'll be interesting to see what those numbers look like now that Mother Nature isn't projected to be a factor. Since Week 8, Allen has been on a tear, completing 69.8% of his passes while serving as the catalyst behind seven straight 24-plus point outings. He's accounted for multiple scores in each of the last six; if he runs for two more, he'll become the second QB with 30-plus passing and 10-plus rushing TDs in a season (Cam Newton, 2015). Often the one making big plays to help set up scoring drives, Diggs will again match up with ballhawk J.C. Jackson who picked off Allen last time. Diggs -- the NFL's current receptions leader -- needs just 55 yards to break the Bills' single-season record for receiving yards (1,368).

Can the Pats run their way to a win this time?

Last week, Cam Newton owned up to his team's inability to live up to the Patriot Way after it was eliminated from playoff contention for the first time since 2008. This week, he and the Pats have a chance to avenge one of their most heart-breaking losses. It was Newton who fumbled on a five-yard scramble in the closing moments of the last game, ending a potential game-winning drive. As they have on several occasions in 2020, the Pats gained more on the ground (182) than through the air (174); pulling that off again should be a steeper challenge this go-around. The Bills have allowed 87.3 rush YPG during their four-game win streak -- compared to 135 YPG in Weeks 1-10 -- thanks to the improved play of Ed Oliver, Tremaine Edmunds and A.J. Klein, to name a few. Still, it's hard to believe the run-heavy Pats would suddenly switch their approach, even if leading rusher Damien Harris (ankle) sits again. Considering how ill-prepared New England is for a shootout, avoiding an early deficit and finding a way to control the clock with sustained drives will be as important as ever.

Not your father's Bills

Five divisions faced title-clinching scenarios coming into Week 16. Thanks to Buffalo, MNF will not include the added pressure of such stakes. By taking care of business against the Broncos two Saturdays ago, the Bills put a stamp on what was already one of the best campaigns in franchise history. The honor of wearing the division crown for the next 12 months came with the added bonus of catching up to and surpassing the NFL's most consistent club. From 2000-19, New England won 17 division titles and went 35-5 against Buffalo. A MNF victory would not only give McDermott his second career win over Bill Belichick but it would also hand Belichick his first losing season in 20 years. In a year full of events not seen in Foxborough for decades, Buffalo earning its first season sweep of the Pats since 1999 would be a fitting way for 2020 to wrap up.

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