Big game for both teams as the Buffalo Bills head to Gillette Stadium to take on the New England Patriots in the middle game on a three game Saturday NFL slate. The Bills are going to the playoffs regardless of what they do in the final two games of the season. They’ve got a glossy 10-4 record and if I had a vote Sean McDermott would be my ‘NFL Coach of the Year’. A victory here would allow them to tie the Patriots in the standings at 11-4. The Patriots are now 11-3 and have also clinched a postseason berth. They ended their two game losing streak with a decisive win/cover at Cincinnati taking a 34-13 victory. The Bengals were able to stay close in the first half but the Patriots managed to pull away in the second.
If you’ve followed along with our NFL analysis this season you’re well aware that I love this Buffalo Bills team and have played on them just about every chance I get. This week, however, I’m going to go the other way. Part of the reason for this is situational. Buffalo is coming off a solid win at Pittsburgh which would have them feeling good about themselves in any circumstance. They’ve now won 4 of their last 5 SU/ATS with the only loss/non-cover coming at home against Baltimore. The Ravens beat the Bills by 7 as -6.5 road favorites so Buffalo is 1 point away from being on a 5 game ATS winning streak. They’ve won 5 of their last 7 SU going 5-1-1 against the spread. They’re also playing their first game since qualifying for the playoffs and are ripe for a ‘letdown spot’.
There are few worse places in the NFL to have a ‘letdown spot’ than against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. This is particularly true for the Bills who have been manhandled by New England for years. The Patriots have won 35 of their last 40 meetings against the Bills SU including 15 of 17 at home. Buffalo head coach McDermott hasn’t made a dent in his team’s struggles against New England going 0-5 against the Pats with an average margin of defeat in excess of two touchdowns (15.6 PPG).
In many ways, the Bills are a ‘poor man’s’ New England Patriots and they’ve managed to thrive despite a limited offense due to a very tough defense. The problem here is that not only is New England’s offense better despite their flaws the Pats’ defense is also better. Patriots are just 3-3 ATS at home this year but have been a very strong play at Gillette Stadium for years. They’ve been particularly strong in this price range (-3.5 to -7 points) where they’ve gone 9-1 SU/7-3 ATS in the past three seasons. Buffalo won’t be humiliated here but there’s every reason to think that the Patriots will keep their run of mastery over the Bills intact and win by a touchdown or more.