Buffalo Bills (8-7, 8-7 ATS) @ New England Patriots (12-3, 9-6 ATS)

*ATS= against the spread

BETDAQ Line: New England -5 (44)

Significant Injuries

Buffalo: DT Marcel Dareus (out– knee), CB Stephon Gilmore (out– concussion)

New England: CB Kyle Arrington (questionable– hamstring), RB LeGarrette Blount (questionable– shoulder), CB Brandon Browner (questionable– groin), LB Jamie Collins (questionable– hip), G Dan Connolly (questionable– knee), WR Julian Edelman (questionable– thigh), OT Cameron Fleming (questionable– ankle), LB Dont’a Hightower (questionable– shoulder), DE Chandler Jones (questionable– hip), WR Brandon LaFell (questionable– shoulder), DE Rob Ninkovich (questionable– heel), RB Shane Vereen (questionable– ankle), OT Sebastian Vollmer (questionable– back), RB Jonas Gray (out– ankle), CB Alfonzo Dennard (out– hamstring)

Recent Trends

Buffalo is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall

Buffalo is 2-6 ATS in their last 8 road games vs. a team with a winning record

New England is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 home games

New England is 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games vs. a team with a winning record

New England is 21-9-1 ATS in the last 31 meetings between these 2 teams

The UNDER is 7-0 in Buffalo’s last 7 games following a loss

The UNDER is 6-1 in Buffalo’s last 7 games overall

The UNDER is 4-1 in New England’s last 5 games overall

The OVER is 6-1 in the last 7 meetings between these 2 teams

Three reasons to back Buffalo

1. The Bills are an undervalued team that would’ve been extremely dangerous had they been able to sneak into the playoffs. They’ve now been eliminated from playoff contention, so their ‘Super Bowl’ is this week’s road game in New England, where they haven’t beaten the hated Patriots in 14 years. This is a “leave it all on the field” type of game for Buffalo, but for the Pats, who have locked up the top seed in the AFC playoffs, it’s essentially meaningless. While Bill Belichick has said that the starters will play, about half of New England’s roster is officially listed as “questionable” for this game, so I fully expect many Patriots who would ordinarily be playing to be held out. All things considered, a Buffalo bet makes a lot of sense here.

2. Buffalo has one of the NFL’s best defenses, a unit that ranks 4th in yards allowed and surrenders just 18.7 points per game. They also lead the league in sacks, so Tom Brady could be in for a miserable time on Sunday. Within the past month the Bills have faced two quarterbacks who will one day join Brady in the Hall of Fame– Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers. They held Manning without a touchdown pass for the first time in over 50 games and they were even better against Rodgers, limiting him to 185 pass yards and 2 interceptions in a 21-13 Buffalo win.

3. The Bills have had a top-12 passing attack since Kyle Orton took over for E.J. Manuel at quarterback, and now they finally have their devastating “thunder and lightning” backfield healthy again, as Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller have both recovered from injuries that cost them most of the season. New England has a mediocre defense that ranks 21st against the pass and allows nearly 350 total yards per game, so the Buffalo offense should be able to make some things happen.

Three reasons to back New England

1. Let’s start here: the Patriots are the NFL’s best team, they haven’t lost a home game against Buffalo in 14 years, and they beat this very same Bills team 37-22 back in Week 6. Plus, Buffalo’s loss to Oakland last week eliminated them from playoff contention, so it remains to be seen whether the Bills will be fully committed on Sunday, or whether they’re already making offseason plans. Keep it simple: back the better team.

2. Much has been made of the Buffalo defense, but the last time Tom Brady went up against the Bills he shredded them to the tune of 361 passing yards and 4 touchdowns. Of course, Brady’s been doing that to just about everybody this season, which is why New England leads the league in points scored (30.6 ppg).

3. New England has a better defense than they’ve had in several years, as they rank 8th in points allowed and have surrendered 21 points or fewer in 6 of their past 7 games. They should dominate the pedestrian Buffalo offense, a unit that ranks 24th in total yards per game and is led by journeyman quarterback Kyle Orton, a guy who is better suited for a backup role at this point in his career. Who do you want to trust with your money: Kyle Orton and Buffalo’s 24th-ranked offense, or Tom Brady and New England’s high-flying attack?


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