Game: New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
Odds: Patriots +2.5, Bills -2.5
The AFC East could be decided over the next three weeks. New England visits Buffalo tonight for the first of two games with the Bills this season. The second will take place 20 days later on the day after Christmas in New England. The outcome of both games could go a long way in determining who wins the division and earns one of the top four seeds in the AFC playoffs.
Buffalo got off to a great 4-1 start this season but is just 3-3 since. The Patriots, on the other hand, started slowly at just 2-4 but have now won six straight. New England, which is 8-4, holds a half-game lead over Buffalo (7-4) in the division race.
The Patriots have been impressive over the last month-plus. Last week, they took care of AFC South leader Tennessee 36-13. Mac Jones, the Patriots rookie quarterback, continued his rise to an elite level NFL quarterback by completing 23-of-32 passes for 310 yards and two touchdowns. New England head coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels have done an outstanding job of not putting too much on Jones’ plate this season. The Patriots have run the football well and the defense leads the NFL in points allowed per game at 15.8.
The Bills have struggled at times over the past month or so. Last week, it was no struggle in a 31-6 drubbing of New Orleans on Thanksgiving night. The catalyst for the Bills offense, QB Josh Allen, was on top of his game last week completing 23-of-28 passes for 260 yards and four touchdowns. Allen will be the focus of the New England defense.
While Buffalo won both games against the Patriots last season, it’s hard to compare last year to this year. New England was missing several key players in 2020 like LB Dont’a Hightower, who opted out of the season due to COVID-19. The Patriots also didn’t have Jones running the offense. In 2021 with Jones at the head of the offense, New England is actually seventh in the NFL in scoring averaging 28 points per game. Since losing at Tampa Bay on Oct. 3, New England has scored at least 24 points in every game. The defense has been equally impressive giving up just 26 points in the last four games combined.
New England is 6-0 ATS in their last six games, but they don’t do as well in primetime. In their last 11 primetime games, the Patriots are just 3-8 ATS. New England is 6-3 ATS in their last nine games against Buffalo. The Bills are 13-6-1 ATS in their last 20 games and 6-3-1 ATS in their last ten.
Tonight’s game total has dropped from 46 all the way down to 41. Both defenses are outstanding, but remember the Over is 3-0 in the last three Bills-Patriots games. The Over is also 6-2 in New England’s last eight games this season.