The Buffalo Bills head to the Gillette Stadium for their penultimate regular-season assignment against the New England Patriots on Monday night.
Buffalo heads to this game with four straight wins and the AFC title in the bag. However, the Bills are still trying to move up to 2nd place in the AFC. After Sunday’s games, the Bills are just one-half game behind the Pittsburgh Steelers in the team standings and with the tiebreaker on their side, Buffalo needs only to win out their remaining games to finish as the AFC’s number 2 seed. On the other hand, the Patriots are already out of the playoff equation and have nothing but pride to play for on Monday. New England still has a chance to finish .500 on the season but they need to win their last two games to do that.
Buffalo beat New England 24-21 in their first meeting of the season.
The Buffalo Bills picked up their fourth straight win after defeating the Denver Broncos last Saturday to pick up their first AFC East title in 25 years. Buffalo improved to 11-3 on the season and they are currently one-half game behind the Pittsburgh Steelers in the race for the 2nd seed in the Conference. With the Bills owning the tiebreaker against the Steelers, all they have to do is win out their remaining schedule to finish as the number 2 team in the AFC.
In their last game, the Bills never trailed the Broncos as they took a 7-0 lead at the end of one and a 21-13 game at the half. Buffalo broke the game wide open in the third and won by a final score of 48-19. Josh Allen has passed for 4,000 yards this season with 30 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Devin Singletary leads the Bills in rushing with 644 yards on 143 carries with two rushing touchdowns. Stefon Diggs leads the NFL with 111 catches for 1,314 yards with five scores.
The Bills rank second in the league in passing offense at 278.5 passing yards per contest. Buffalo is also 6th in the league in scoring at 29.points per game this season. Defensively, they are 16th in scoring defense, allowing an average of 24.3 points per game this season.
Odds from BetOnline as of 12/28/2020
New England Patriots
The New England Patriots suffered a second consecutive loss when they couldn’t stop the Miami Dolphins from running the football last week. With the defeat, the Patriots are now just 6-8 on the season and are out of playoff contention. Their offense has sputtered in the last two games as they have not scored a touchdown during that span, producing only a total of five field goals in two weeks.
New England was on top 9-7 after three quarters before wilting in the final quarter against Miami. The Patriots’ run defense allowed 250 yards plus three scores. The Dolphins scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to beat the Patriots. Miami outgained New England 383-303 in total offense while the Patriots lost the battle of first downs 26-18. Cam Newton has passed for only 2,381 yards with five touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Newton however has 489 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns. Damien Harris leads the rushing offense with 691 yards on 137 carries. Rex Burkhead is out for the season with an ACL injury. Meanwhile, Damiere Byrd has 45 catches and 590 receiving yards on the season.
New England ranks 30th in the NFL with only 185.4 passing yards per contest. The Patriots though are 5th in the rushing game with an average of 145.4 rushing yards per outing. They are also 6th in scoring defense at 21.5 points per game allowed but the Patriots are just 20th in scoring offense at only 20.6 points per game scored this season.
Buffalo is 7-1 SU in their last eight games played. The Bills are 5-2 SU in seven road games played this season. New England is 4-6 SU in their last 10 games played. The Patriots are 4-2 SU in six home games played this season, and 14-4 SU in their last 18 games played against the AFC East Division. Head to head, the Patriots have won eight out of their last 10 meetings against the Bills. New England is also 17-2 SU in their last 19 home games against Buffalo.
The Buffalo Bills lost a chance to clinch second place in the AFC after the Steelers beat the Colts on Sunday. But Buffalo is already assured of third place with Tennessee’s loss to Pittsburgh. Right now, the Steelers are half a game on top of the Bills so Buffalo needs to win out their last two games to finish as the second seed.
New England has been an offensive bust with Cam Newton playing behind center. Newton signed a one-year deal with the Patriots hoping to prove that he can still play at a high level. But at this point of the season, it’s unclear whether the Patriots will even bring him back next season.
New England’s defense will be without Defensive Player of the Year winner Stephone Gilmore who suffered a season-ending knee injury in last week’s loss. Without Gilmore, the Patriots will have a hard time containing Stefon Diggs and his league-leading 111 catches.
I thought about taking New England here because they still have a chance to finish the season at .500 and salvage their pride. But other than that, there’s nothing to play for here, and as good a coach as Bill Belichick is, there’s nothing he can do about the current state of the Patriots. Meanwhile, the Bills are already assured of the 3rd seed in the AFC but they can still move up and the matchups might spell the difference between a longer postseason run. I expect Buffalo to be more motivated here and the fact that New England has dominated them for years makes them want to sweep the season series even more.
Prediction: Buffalo Bills
Other Bets To Make
The Bills are 6-0 ATS in their last six games played. Buffalo is 1-5 ATS in their last six games played against the AFC East, and 4-3 ATS in seven road games played so far this year. The Patriots are 6-8 ATS in 14 games played this season. New England is 4-2 ATS in six home games played so far this year, 4-8 ATS in their last 12 December games, and 4-1 ATS in their last five games as the betting underdog.
Odds from BetOnline as of 12/28/2020
New England has been terrible in the last two weeks, scoring just a total of 15 points. Belichick says he will continue to go with Newton but even if he benches Cam, New England doesn’t have too many weapons to put up enough points to match up with Buffalo. The Bills have averaged over 30 points per game during their current winning streak. This is a team that is still fighting for the 2nd seed in the conference and I expect them to bring their A-game here.
Prediction: Buffalo Bills -7.5
The total has gone over in 10 out of the last 10 games played by Buffalo. The Bills have seen the total go over in six out of their last seven road games. The total has gone under in each of the last six games played by the Patriots. New England has seen the total go under in six out of their last seven home games. Head to head, the total has gone under in six out of the last 10 meetings between these two teams.
Odds from BetOnline as of 12/28/2020
Buffalo’s offense has played very well this season. They have scored at least 26 points in each of their last six games and have put up at least 24 points in 11 of 14 games played this season. They have also seen the over go 9-4-1 in their 14 games played this season. However, the Bills are facing a New England team that has gone over four times this season and has missed the mark in their last six assignments. These teams combined for 45 points in their first meeting with the New England defense limiting Josh Allen to just 154 yards. I expect a similar game and with the Pats playing at a very slow pace, this one should be a low scoring game. I like the Buffalo defense to shut down the New England offense here.
Prediction: Under 46