MNF Week 16: Bills vs. Patriots odds, preview, and pick
The Buffalo Bills will look to hold onto the second seed in the AFC as they travel to New England to face the Patriots on Monday Night Football (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN). The newly-crowned AFC East champions are favored by a touchdown, with the total sitting at 46.5 points.
Tue, December 29 2020, 1:15 AM
New England Patriots
Bills playing best football of the year
Buffalo comes into this game on the back of a strong second half performance against the Denver Broncos, outscoring them 17-0 in the third quarter on their way to a 48-19 victory. Quarterback Josh Allen scored two touchdowns with his legs and threw for another pair of scores, along with 359 yards passing as he had one of his best outings of the year.
The defense pitched in as well, breaking the game open seconds after Allen’s fourth touchdown in the third quarter. Jerry Hughes returned a fumble 21 yards to open a 22-point lead, as Buffalo held an opponent under 20 points for the third time in four contests. In fact, only two of Buffalo’s last eight opponents have topped 21 points, a key reason they have won seven of their last eight games.
Buffalo now travels to face a New England team they beat during this run with a three-point victory at home, representing their tightest victory over the past two months. Allen will look to improve on a woeful performance that saw him record just 177 yards of total offense with a rushing touchdown and an interception. They need to win in order to maintain pace with the Steelers and hold onto the second seed. Doing so would allow them to record a season sweep over the Patriots for the first time in the 21st century.
Patriots’ playoff streak comes to an end
Meanwhile, New England’s season is effectively over, as they were eliminated from playoff contention last Sunday with a 22-12 loss to the Miami Dolphins. The Patriots led the game 6-0 at the half, but allowed the Dolphins to score three second-half touchdowns.
The Cam Newton experiment also looks to be over, as few expect him to be offered another contract by the Patriots. He recorded just 247 yards of total offense against the Dolphins as the Patriots settled for four field goals and no touchdowns. Newton has thrown just two touchdowns in his last five games, and both of his rushing touchdowns during that stretch came in one game. His five passing touchdowns on the year are a far cry from what New England has been used to.
The Patriots will be severely hampered in this game on defense as well, with star corner back Stephon Gilmore tearing his quad last week and going on injured reserve. He shadowed Bills wide-out Stefon Diggs in the first matchup, limiting him to just six catches for 92 yards. Since that game, Diggs has caught fewer than seven passes just once, and has caught 31 over his last three games. It will be a tough ask for the fifth-best pass defense in the league to replace the production loss from Gilmore.
Buffalo vs. New England injury report
The Bills saw Diggs leave the game early against Denver with a foot injury, but he is not expected to miss any time. Offensive lineman Daryl Williams practiced in full on Friday after suffering a groin injury and is expected to suit up for Monday’s game.
Meanwhile, New England wide receiver Julian Edelman is available to return from injured reserve, but it is unknown whether he will do so. Running back Damien Harris and wide-out Donte Moncrief both missed last week’s game and are questionable for this one.
Bills and Patriots odds and statistics
|Team Name||Passing Yards||Rushing Yards||Passing Yards Allowed||Rushing Yards Allowed|
New England Patriots
Bills vs. Patriots betting trends
Buffalo has covered the spread in each of their last six games, and have won outright in seven of their last eight. The total has gone over in 10 of their last 14 games, and in six of their last seven on the road.
New England has covered the spread in 12 of their last 13 games as a home underdog, but they have failed to cover the spread in their last two contests. The total has gone Under in their last six games, and in six of their last seven home contests.
Will the Bills cover in Week 16?
This game comes down to motivation. The motivation for the Patriots is pride, but with the playoffs out of reach, how much will that pride matter in a COVID year? With Gilmore out against a surging Bills offense, will they be able to stick to their fifth-best rushing attack long enough in this game to stay in it?
Meanwhile, Buffalo knows why they need to win, and they have little reason to take their foot off the gas. Getting the second seed is important, but the added motivation of burying the knife in the Patriots and Bill Belichick after years of being dominated might be the icing on the cake. Look for Buffalo to win this game easily and keep rolling towards the postseason.
Score Prediction: Bills 31, Patriots 13