Bills vs. Patriots Odds, Picks, Predictions: Which Team Can Cover Spread In AFC East Rivalry Showdown?
Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images. Pictured: Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen.
- With Bills vs. Patriots odds positioning Buffalo as a short road underdog, where's the betting value on this Week 16 matchup?
- Our expert breaks down this AFC East showdown below, complete with his predictions and pick on the spread.
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
After a couple of tough losses, the Buffalo Bills needed to get their groove back with a dominant win against Carolina.
Now, they get the chance to redeem themselves after the difficult 14-10 home loss to the New England Patriots. If they can pull off the upset, they will also snap their four-game losing streak against teams currently set to make the playoffs. That would go a long way to boosting their confidence come playoff time.
The Patriots are also looking to rebound after their seven-game winning streak came to an end against the Colts. New England even trailed 20-0 heading into the fourth quarter, but still fought back to bring it within 20-17 at one point.
Despite the loss, we finally got to see Mac Jones look comfortable when leading his team in a comeback. Against Buffalo with much better weather than last time, that could be the case again.
Per FiveThirtyEight, the winner of this game essentially locks up the division. Let’s take a deeper dive to see if Buffalo will show it can play with the big boys or if New England will reclaim the AFC East crown.
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|Bills Offense||DVOA Rank||Patriots Defense|
|Bills Defense||DVOA Rank||Patriots Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Bills Need To Heighten Floor
The Bills offense has been a story of highs and lows all year. When it clicks, it’s completely unstoppable. But when Buffalo is off, it can’t get out of its own way. No game better summarizes them than their matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In that game, six of the Bills’ first seven drives didn’t even cross midfield. Then, during their next five possessions, they collected three touchdowns and one field goal. While the upside is exciting, finding a higher floor and improving their consistency will be helpful against stiffer competition.
One of the areas letting the Bills down is their passing attack. Through his last five games, quarterback Josh Allen is down to just 226 passing yards per outing. While he does make up for this some with his legs, the Bills will need more if they’re going to compete with the league’s best.
On the ground, Buffalo is a misleading team when looking at first-level stats. For example, the Bills’ yards per carry is 4.8 and that’s good for fourth in the NFL. However, looking further on will show that despite their excellent rushing efficiency, Buffalo has the fourth-worst run-blocking grade, per PFF.
Without good blocking up front, Buffalo won’t be able to simply lean on teams and hack away at defenses on the ground. This means any kind of offensive stability will have to come from the passing attack.
Defensively, a favorable schedule has helped Buffalo maintain excellent appearances on a statistical front. On the year, the Bills rank second in points and yards per drive, as well as third in turnovers forced.
Unfortunately, those inflated numbers meant nothing against respectable offenses. As the competition has gotten tougher in recent weeks, the Bills have allowed a monstrous 163 rushing yards per game. If they don’t bring an extra level of toughness, the Patriots will continue that streak.
Patriots Won’t Have Weather To Help
Last week in addition to New England’s seven-game winning streak ending, the Colts snapped the team’s nine-game streak of at least 100 yards rushing. While Jones did show poise bringing New England back late, things were rough early on.
Jones led New England to just one drive into Indianapolis territory until late in the third quarter. Even that lone drive ended in an interception rather than points. Those early struggles could have just been rust being built, as the Patriots haven’t needed their passing attack since Halloween.
Rust or not though, this passing attack will need to be ready. The weather will not be as punishing to throw against, so the Bills offense should look much better. While New England did run the ball impressively in their first meeting, that will not be enough for the team to keep up with Buffalo.
Defensively, the Patriots have benefited from the schedule in the same way as the Bills. Between playing in the AFC North and drawing the AFC and NFC South teams as their opponents, New England has faced few talented offenses.
The Patriots have made the most of their matchups though, as they rank fourth in yards per drive and first in points per drive allowed.
This will be the first explosive passing attack they will face in a reasonable weather condition since the Los Angeles Chargers back in Week 8. And, with only the Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins left on the schedule, their last real test for their secondary before the playoffs. We will see if they can answer the call and match the standard set in their win streak.
Bills vs. Patriots Predictions
This game is a tough one. With the AFC East on the line, it seems obvious the Patriots will come in and take care of business. On the other hand, the Bills have looked impressive in their comeback efforts against the Patriots and Buccaneers, even if they fell just short.
I do think head coach Sean McDermott will learn from those comeback efforts, though, and push to get the Bills ahead early. This will force the Patriots to rely more on Jones’ arm than they like. While Jones did show a positive rhythm against the Colts, him throwing is still preferable to the New England grounding and pounding the clock away again.
As for the Patriots defense, it’s currently getting too much love for stopping weak offenses. Their best two defensive performances — games against the Bills (first meeting) and Buccaneers — are arguably more attributable to the weather than to their play as well.
Take the better quarterback and the points in this huge showdown.
Pick: Bills +2 | Bet to: +1.5
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