Statistically speaking, the New England Patriots’ defense is the best in the NFL at the moment. The unit surrendered just three points so far this season and has played some outstanding football no matter the situation. Not all people are sold just yet, however, with skeptics pointing out the comparatively easy schedule through the first three regular season games as having helped the unit achieve those historic levels.
Enter Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Dion Dawkins, who will go up against the Patriots’ defense this week in a battle of unbeaten AFC East rivals. Dawkins spoke with reporters on Wednesday, and was quick to point out that New England has not yet faced a challenge quite like the one awaiting on Sunday: “We don’t care what they’ve done [in] the games before, because they haven’t played us yet.”
“Once they play us — and if it doesn’t change — then that’s when [you] could start talking,” said Buffalo’s starting left tackle when discussing a Patriots defense that has not yet surrendered a touchdown, and is coming off back-to-back shutouts. “You guys have seen Josh [Allen], our coaches, really all of us. We’re just on a different mission. We have something going, and I don’t really care who it is [that we are playing].”
Judging by the regular season so far, Dawkins’ confidence in his team’s offense is only somewhat justified. While the unit did help the Bills jump to a 3-0 record and has served as a solid complementary piece to one of the better defenses in the league, it also did not necessarily jump off the page either: Buffalo is averaging 22.0 points per game and has turned the football over six times already.
Nevertheless, the 25-year-old is convinced of Buffalo’s talent and therefore not worried about going up against an NFL powerhouse that has won its last five games against the Bills: “I love [Tom Brady] and I respect his game and [him as a] player, but I got Josh Allen. All I’m worried about is keeping that kid clean and doing whatever I need to do during this week to make myself better so I can let that kid play as free and [fluid] as he needs to.”
So far in his career, Dawkins has gone up against the Patriots four times and has mostly been solid: since joining the league in 2016, the former second-round draft pick has given up seven quarterback pressures against New England — two of which sacks. If Buffalo wants to find offensive success in two days, the left tackle will need to keep playing good football and hope that his teammates do the same.