NFL Preview & Predictions: Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots
Our this NFL season, the final "Monday Night Football" game features the team that has run the AFC East for the last two decades squaring off against the team that would surely like to emulate that dominance over the next two, CBS Sports cites.
The New England Patriots ruled the division for a long time, but the Buffalo Bills have already locked up the division crown for this season. New England isn't even going to the playoffs, but has an opportunity to spoil Buffalo's chances at the No. 2 seed by pulling off an upset.
Let's break down the matchup of these two rivals.
The Bills are seven-point favorites against the Patriots inside Gillette Stadium, a place where Buffalo has won in just three times this century. Last week the Bills clinched the division title and now must win to remain the no. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs.
According to Syracuse, since the last time the Bills (11-3) and Patriots (6-8) played in Week 8 - a 24-21 win for Buffalo - the Bills have gone 5-1 and have averaged nearly 35 points per game in those six games. If not for a low percentage Hail Mary conversion for the Arizona Cardinals in Week 10, the Bills might be going into this game without a loss since October.
So what kind of team are the Bills going to face in the Patriots, whose offense has been one of the most unproductive in the NFL this season? Quarterback Cam Newton has started 13 games this season and has just five touchdown passes with 10 interceptions. The Patriots have 20 players listed as questionable for this game and have felt the loss of several key contributors this season on both sides of the ball. Without Julian Edelman, Newton has struggled to get the ball to playmakers and the Patriots are averaging just 20.6 points per game, which ranks 27th in the league.
Watch Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots | NFL Week 16 Game Trailer here:
Buffalo Bills vs New England Patriots NFL Week 16 Broadcast
Date: Monday, December 28
Game Time: 8:15 p, ET
Venue: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA
Network: ESPN, NFL
Buffalo Bills (11-3) vs New England Patriots (6-8) Game Preview
Why Buffalo Bills Will Win
The Bills have already clinched the AFC East, and now they’re jockeying for position. There’s a shot with a little help to move up to the 2, but first, beating New England for a second time would be sweet.
According to College Football news, the Patriots are struggling offensively, failing to score more than 20 points in four of the last five games, and with just 15 total points in the last two. There’s little to no passing game, and the ground attack has dried up.
On the flip side, Buffalo is on an offensive bender, coming off a 534-yard, 48-point day against Denver as part of a run of four straight wins and seven of the last eight, only losing to Arizona on a Hail Mary.
Why New England Patriots Will Win
The defense hasn’t been all that bad.
The offense might be struggling, but overall the running game continues to work. There aren’t a lot of turnovers, controlling the clock isn’t an issue, and the team is dominating the field position battle. The run defense might have a few problems, but the secondary hasn’t allowed more than 190 yards in any of the last four games.
The Buffalo run defense has looked strong partly because it hasn’t faced too many teams that can run. New England was able to crank up the ground game in the first meeting – running for 188 yards – but after a horrible last few games, Cam Newton has to get the chains moving in any way possible.
Fantasy Football Player To Watch
QB Josh Allen, Buffalo
|Bills QB Josh Allen celebrates after defeating the Miami Dolphins. Photo: Syracuse|
The Bills won the first meeting with New England, but Allen was held to 154 passing yards with no touchdown passes, but he ran for a score. On fire lately, he has thrown eight touchdown passes over the last three games and ran for two scores last week against Denver. This is it. This is the last gasp for some in their championships, but dealing with the New England defense is going to be a fight.
What’s Going To Happen
It’s a pride game for a New England team that’s been struggling way too much. This is their playoff game, but Buffalo is playing well enough to overcome a great gameplan from Bill Belichick and the staff.
The Buffalo run defense will have a few problems, but the offensive side will step it up after a rough first half. It’ll take a while for the machine to heat up, but the Bills will stay hot going into the home date with Miami.
Buffalo Bills vs New England Patriots Line Predictions
The Bills come into the week with momentum, four straight wins, and an infinitesimal chance (however small) at the top seed, Athlon Sports cites. The Patriots are simply trying to play for pride, a position neither their team nor Belichick has rarely encountered.
Add in Buffalo’s motivation at kicking the Pats while they’re down and it’s not hard to handicap this one. A win would give the Bills their first sweep of their division rival since Doug Flutie was the starting quarterback in 1999.
Prediction: Bills 27, Patriots 17
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