The New England Patriots look to extend their streak of domination over the Buffalo Bills this weekend as they travel to Western New York in what will be an AFC East clash. The Patriots are dueling with the Steelers over the top spot in the AFC, while the Bills are trying to stay in the running for the last AFC Wild Card spot. For Buffalo to break their playoff drought, they will most likely need to win at least 1 of the 2 games remaining against the Patriots. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. Kickoff inside New Era Field is at 1 PM ET.
Since 2000, the Patriots hold a 29-5 record against Buffalo. It’s been nearly 2 decades of dominance and this weekend’s game appears to be heading in the same direction. Over their last 10 head-to-head meetings, the Patriots are 8-2 and have won 5 straight in Buffalo. This is the first game between these two teams this season.
The Patriots (9-2) are 5-0 on the road and undefeated in the AFC East. The age-defying Tom Brady is looking for his 14th overall victory in Buffalo and has a team that’s probably better than last year’s squad. They’re more balanced on offense and the defense is really starting to pick up some steam. New England can lock up the AFC East with a win over Buffalo and continue toward the #1 spot in the AFC.
Buffalo (6-5) broke its 3 game losing streak last weekend at Kansas City. They return home for 3 games and look to further their chances at the playoffs. Buffalo has Indianapolis and Miami on the docket after the Patriots and can bolster their odds with a win this weekend. Unfortunately, it’s against the one team that has owned the Bills on the field.
The spread opened with the Patriots favored by 9 points and it remains unchanged. The Over/Under is at 48 total points, coming down from an opening of 49 points.
The clear difference between these two teams on the field, and the long history of domination by the Pats, makes me question how the spread is only 9 points. I would’ve thought this could be at least a double digit spread. I mean Brady is going for his 14th win in Buffalo and the Pats are looking to win their 6th straight in Western New York. This divisional rivalry has been so one sided that most Bills fans just chalk these games up as automatic losses.
New England comes into this clash on a 7 game winning streak and has held opponents to 17 points or less during this streak. Even when they weren’t playing at their best, they still destroyed the Dolphins last weekend 35-17.
Since his return from suspension last season, Brady has torched the NFL. During the last 23 games, he has thrown 54 TD’s and just 5 interceptions. This year, he has a solid running game to help him out, which only makes him more dangerous. On the season, Brady has thrown for 3,374 yards, 26 TDs and 3 INTs. Brady is the engine that makes this Patriots team go, and it looks like they could go back to the Super Bowl this year.
Another interesting storyline for this game is the return of Stephon Gilmore to Buffalo after he jettisoned the Bills for a big contract with the Patriots. Will he make his mark on his first return to Western New York?
For the Bills to have any shot in this game, they will need to pressure Brady. That’s easier said than done because Tom has a quick release and plenty of weapons to dump it off too. The other thing Buffalo has to do is control the clock on offense. To do that, they will need to establish a dominant running game with McCoy leading the way. Additionally, backup RB Cadet will need to pick up some yards when he’s in the game and QB Tyrod Taylor will have to pick up crucial first downs with his legs. Also, Taylor will need to be more aggressive throwing the ball down the field and not little dump offs or check downs that had previously earned him a ticket to the bench.
Prior to last weekend’s game, Buffalo was being torched on the ground by opposing teams. However, last weekend they were able to plug the holes and fix the issues that plagued them for most of November. The Bills will need to continue their efforts on defense in order to prevent the Patriots from running all over them with Lewis, White and Burkhead. Knowing the Patriots, I wouldn’t be surprised if Mike Gillislee got some action this weekend against his former team.
The Patriots are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games, 7-1 ATS in their last 8 road games, and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games at Buffalo. The Bills are 2-4-1 ATS in their last 7 overall games, 2-4-1 ATS in their last 7 games against the Patriots, and 2-10-1 ATS in their last 13 home games against New England.
I think Buffalo will come out strong and use the crowd to their advantage in the first half. Unfortunately, the Patriots will make second half adjustments and pull away from the Bills in typical New England fashion. Brady is too good and has too many weapons for the Bills to handle. Buffalo would have to play a perfect game to have a chance at victory and I don’t see that happening. Tom will light up the Bills defense and lead New England to their 10th win on the season as they beat the Bills 34-20.