The Patriots will fall back to .500 if they can’t hang tough with Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills at the Razor on Thursday night.
Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots
Thursday, December 1, 2022 – 08:15 PM EST at Gillette Stadium
The Patriots' vaunted defense did a solid job of containing the immaculate Justin Jefferson and Minnesota’s prolific passing attack through three quarters. The Vikings managed only 16 points, not including a 97-yard kickoff return by Kene Nwangwu that brought them back to life, entering the final frame.
Yet, New England still held a tenuous three-point lead as the fourth quarter commenced as their offensive attack was suddenly allowed to spread its wings for what felt like the first time this season. Mac Jones was hitting receivers all over the field, a la 2021, and the predictable Patriots’ run-it-up-the-gut game plan was scrapped in favor of a new, much more dynamic aerial attack.
But the defense slowly wore down and the offense began to stall. The Vikings rang up 10 points while the Patriots went scoreless. Final score: Vikings 33 – Patriots 26.
Mac Jones passed for a career-best 382 yards and hit Nelson Agholor for a 34-yard touchdown pass followed by a 37-yard strike to Hunter Henry for his two touchdowns on the evening. However, while the passing attack caught fire, the ground game was stuck in neutral with a total of 45 yards on 13 carries.
Bills Tame Lions… Barely
Buffalo was installed as a 10-point road favorite last week in Motown but the game was not nearly as easy as the public believed it would be as the Lions scratched and clawed throughout the Thanksgiving afternoon affair to give the Bills a run for their money.
The Lions held a three-point lead early in the fourth quarter but the Bills would not be denied and eked out a 28-25 victory for the second time in five days at Ford Field. The league moved their previous game from Orchard Park to Detroit when a winter storm buried the Buffalo area and the Bills prevailed in that contest as well, 31-23, over the Browns.
Josh Allen had 253 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns while the Bills’ rushing attack was also led by Allen as he chewed up 78 of Buffalo’s 164 yards on the ground. It was a see-saw battle but the Bills got over the hump and put another notch in the win column, yet, disappointed their backers at the betting windows.
- The total has gone UNDER in Buffalo's last 5 games on the road
- The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Buffalo's last 9 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of New England's last 6 games played in Week 13
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Buffalo's last 6 games against an AFC opponent
Pick and Prediction
The Bills have won four of their last five meetings (3-2 ATS) with the Patriots as the AFC East landscape has shifted drastically since Tom Brady departed from Foxboro. But this is the first of two games between the divisional rivals this season and the Bills have revealed glimpses of their vincibility with a narrow win over Detroit last week, a stunning loss to the Jets, and a self-inflicted setback to the Vikings.
Meanwhile, if there is such a thing as a good loss, the Patriots got one last week. The offense got on track, Mac Jones looked like the first-round, Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback he was in his rookie season, while the defense bent but didn’t break until the fourth quarter.
The Bills’ offense is ranked second in scoring, averaging 28.1 points per game, while the New England defense checks in at No. 7 in points allowed. Buffalo is certainly not historically elite in their offensive attack but they are among the best this season while the same can be said of the Patriots’ defense.
However, the Bills do flounder against the pass, ranked 20th in that category, allowing 221.6 passing yards per contest. And while New England has hardly been a passing threat this season, I wouldn’t be surprised if Bill Belichick made sure there was more of what we saw last week than the vanilla, ground-and-pound we have seen up to this point.
Patriots Can Handle It
If there is ever a good time for the Pats to face the Bills, it’s this week. The Lions hung tough for four quarters and easily covered as 10-point home dogs and I believe the Patriots can do the same.
The weather forecast tells us it will be below 25 degrees and blustery so look for short passes to move the chains and chew up the clock in the process. Grab the home dog and watch this game go under the posted total.
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