NFL Playoff Odds, Picks, Predictions For Patriots vs. Bills: Trust Mac Jones or Josh Allen To Cover Wild Card?
Getty Images. Pictured: Patriots QB Mac Jones, Bills QB Josh Allen
- In search of Patriots vs. Bills odds? We've outlined the spread and over/under in our guide to betting this NFL playoff matchup.
- Odds have moved as kickoff approaches, with Buffalo now a 4.5-point favorite.
- Mac Jones has been mistake prone while Josh Allen has carried the Bills offense. But which team has the edge to cover Saturday's spread? Our analyst make his pick below.
|Time||8:15 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
For most divisional matchups, three games can be overkill for a viewer. But this particular matchup between the Patriots and Bills brings lots of excitement.
For starters, the two previous games between these teams were both excellent. In the first, Josh Allen marched within striking distance of the game-winning touchdown, overcoming horrendous weather. In the second, Allen had the ball up one score in the fourth and willed the Bills to first down after first down to take a two-score lead and clinch the victory.
This wild-card matchup could also carry with it the team that will own the AFC East for years to come. The Dolphins just fired their head coach while the Jets continue to look like the Jets. Winning this game could be the confidence boost that translates to winning the rematches next year and perpetually renewing the confidence that comes with it.
Let’s see if we can find an edge in this grudge match for AFC East supremacy.
Patriots vs. Bills Injury Report
We’re tracking practice participation and statuses of every player on the Patriots’ and Bills’ injury reports here.
Patriots vs. Bills Matchup
|Patriots Offense||DVOA Rank||Bills Defense|
|Patriots Defense||DVOA Rank||Bills Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Patriots Limped Into Playoffs
After being one of the hottest teams from October through November, the Patriots ended the season on a disturbing 1-3 run, with their lone victory coming over the Jaguars. But there’s a simple explanation for their losses: Turnovers. In those three losses, the Patriots committed seven turnovers and forced only one
For the offense, the main culprit is Mac Jones, who was responsible for six of those turnovers. The first interception against the Dolphins in Week 18 may have been the worst of them all and why they lost the regular-season finale. After Miami’s opening drive went for a touchdown, Jones’ first attempt was intercepted and taken for a touchdown.
New England ranks 27th in pass-run ratio, indicating that the Patriots highly-depend on the run for success. When Jones makes mistakes like that, it forces the offense out of its comfort zone and prevents the defense from creating opportunities for the offense.
The Bills’ top-ranked pass defense in DVOA will do everything it can to force the ball in the air. Jones will need to be better to stay alive in the playoffs.
As for the defensive struggles, the Patriots have been unable to force teams off the ground game in their losses. Against the Colts and Dolphins, the Pats defense was run all over, allowing an average of 210.5 rushing yards. Their pass defense hardly had a chance to make an impact as those same teams threw for only 76 yards per game.
Fortunately, the Bills have a fairly weak running game.
Bills Go As Josh Allen Goes
The Bills have built a team that rides and dies with their star quarterback.
We have seen when Allen is off his game this offense sputters even against a team like the Jaguars. Part of the problem is Allen’s belief in himself to make heroic plays. They are beautiful when they work, but are the cause of many of his turnovers.
Against an opportunistic defense like New England’s, pushing the envelope on one play could be costly.
A reason Buffalo sticks with such a volatile quarterback is that the upside is a one-man wrecking crew. The Bills rank third in points scored and fifth in yards gained because of Allen. He has 4,407 passing yards, 763 rushing yards and 43 total touchdowns on the year. He may not be in the MVP race, but in any particular game he can carry an offense to 30 points.
To complement Allen’s passing attack, Devin Singletary has given the Bills a spark from the backfield. In the past four games, Singletary has averaged 99 total yards and 21 touches per game. His play has given Buffalo an alternate option to solely relying on Allen to do it all. Against New England’s weak run defense, he will need to keep it up.
Defensively, the Bills are built to complement their offense and stop the pass. The problem is strong run-first teams have been able to dictate game flow against them. This defense will need to stop the Patriots’ run game long enough for their offense to score and force Jones to keep up.
Patriots vs. Bills Predictions
This game comes down to whether you think Allen will make mistakes. If he can protect the ball, he has shown he can produce against the Patriots. However, one turnover and the Patriots are right where they want to be.
The same goes for Jones and the Patriots’ offense. One early turnover and the Bills are in the position they want to be.
In a matchup of who will make a mistake first, I am going to trust the Patriots, mostly because they showed no problem keeping the ball out of Jones’ hands unless absolutely necessary. As long as the game is within one score, the Patriots will play safe and wait for Allen’s mistake.
I would not take the Patriots to win this outright, but with the points, the decision was easy. Blowouts become much more rare in the postseason, so as long as I get them at a field goal or better, I will trust the better defense and run game.
Pick: Patriots +4 | Bet to: +3
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