Monday Night Football Predictions: New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
Well, we went 0-2 on last Monday's Giants-Falcons game because Atlanta allowed a last-second garbage TD that allowed New York to cover. And now I have to preview another crappy New York team in the Buffalo Bills this Monday?
(Actually, win a drink from your friends with this bar trivia question: How many NFL teams play in New York? They'll probably say two or three. The answer is one: Buffalo - which many forget. The Giants and Jets play in New Jersey.)
Seriously, if we combined the offensive personnel of the Giants and Bills, would that unit still be the NFL's worst? Think I'd rather have Derek Anderson and/or Josh Allen quarterbacking my team right now over Eli Manning. But I digress.
The Bills obviously have no chance of winning Monday at home against the surging Patriots. Yes, yes, we all know that Buffalo went to Minnesota in Week 3 as a 17-point underdog and pulled the NFL's biggest point-spread upset since 1995.
I don't see this game resembling that from an upset perspective. For one, it was a bit of a trap game for the Vikings, who were still getting used to their new quarterback. Second, it was a team the Vikings weren't familiar with and didn't care much about. Third, the Patriots simply don't fall into trap games. Fourth, New England has Tom Brady. Fifth, it's a division game, and those always matter more.
That enough reasons? So, Buffalo won't win Monday. But cover ….?
Patriots at Bills Betting Story Lines
Let's start with the offensive mess that is the Bills. Allen will sit again with an elbow injury. And while it's nice for a rookie to learn on the job, you don't want him getting killed or losing confidence behind a terrible offensive line. It will be the veteran journeyman Anderson again - why did the Bills trade AJ McCarron on the eve of the season?
Anderson hadn't played meaningful football in a few years, so his performance in last week's 37-5 loss to Indianapolis, not exactly a good defensive team, was predictable: 20-for-31 for 175 yards and three picks. Still probably better than what Nathan Peterman would have done. Bills officials should just be honest with the world and say they are tanking. Not clear if Anderson will have No. 1 tailback LeSean McCoy, who was in the concussion protocol after suffering a head injury vs. Indy. I'd be surprised if McCoy is still a Bill by next Tuesday's trade deadline. Ditto WR Kelvin Benjamin. Buffalo should basically become Oakland East in giving up this year, dumping guys and playing for 2019 and beyond.
The Patriots' dynasty supposedly was done when they were 1-2, but here they are at 5-2, rolling offensively and back atop the AFC East. The offense truly looks different with the addition of Josh Gordon and return from suspension of Julian Edelman along with the emergence of rookie running back Sony Michel.
Michel, who had major knee problems at Georgia, suffered what looked like another serious injury in last Sunday's 38-31 win in Chicago, but by some minor miracle there was no structural damage. Good for him. I'd be surprised if he plays Monday, though, meaning more of James White and some of Kenjon Barner (no doubt a popular fantasy pickup this week). Rob Gronkowski missed the Chicago game with a back injury and hadn't practiced through Wednesday this week. I'd think the Pats would rest him against a sad-sack opponent with a marquee game up next vs. Green Bay.
Patriots at Bills Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , New England is a 15-point favorite (+105) with a total of 44. On the moneyline, the Pats are -1250 and Bills +800. On the alternate lines, the Patriots are -14.5 (+100), -14 (-110) and -13.5 (-120). The Patriots are 4-3 against the spread (1-2 on road) and 4-3 "over/under" (2-1 on road). The Bills are 3-4 ATS (1-1 at home) and 2-5 O/U (1-1 at home).
New England has covered nine of its past 11 vs. teams with a losing record. The Pats are 1-3-1 ATS in their past five on Monday. Buffalo is 5-1 ATS in its past six after an ATS loss. It is 5-2 ATS in its past seven following an overall loss. The under is 4-1 in the Pats' past five vs. the AFC East. It's 5-1 in the Bills' past seven following a loss. The Pats are 4-1-1 in the past six meetings. The over is 5-2 in the previous seven in Buffalo.
Patriots at Bills Betting Prediction
Well, I'm sort of going to contradict myself here. The Patriots don't get caught in trap games, but I can see perhaps not quite 100 percent focus this week vs. an overmatched opponent, possibly down two key offensive starters and that showdown with Aaron Rodgers up next.
Frankly, I can't NOT take a home team getting this big of a number in the NFL. Go Buffalo at +15 and under the total.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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