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Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots Prediction and Preview

Can the Bills get revenge in Foxborough after the Patriots embarrassed them three weeks ago?

Can the Bills get revenge in Foxborough after the Patriots embarrassed them three weeks ago?

The weather figures to be a lot better for meeting No. 2 between the Bills and Patriots with this one taking place in Foxborough. 

The Pats beat Buffalo 14-10 when they last met on Dec. 6 in a game that saw massive amounts of winds and two completely different game plans. Mac Jones threw it three times with New England running it 46 times. Meanwhile, Buffalo threw it 30 times while they also had just 25 carries. It added up to New England's eighth win in the last 10 games of this series.

The Bills are 4-4 since a Week 7 bye and are coming off a solid 31-14 win over Carolina last week. Devin Singletary had 22 carries for 86 yards and a touchdown, while Gabriel Davis picked up two touchdown receptions. There was a lot of focus on the offense, but the defense held Carolina to 275 yards and forced one turnover in the victory. Considering how little this team runs the ball sometimes, we'll see if that game plan carries over Sunday.

The Patriots have one extra day to prepare after losing 27-17 at Indianapolis last Saturday. New England closed the gap to three points with 2:21 left, but a 67-yard touchdown run by Jonathan Taylor slammed the door on any comeback. Jones was 26-of-45 for 299 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, but the heralded defense allowed Taylor to rumble for 170 yards. 

With another poor effort, the Pats could lose two in a row much as they did back in late September when they fell to New Orleans and Tampa Bay. And a loss would give the Bills first place in the AFC East, as Buffalo would have the tiebreaker based on divisional record.

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Buffalo (8-6) at New England (9-5)

Kickoff: Sunday, Dec. 26, 1 p.m. ET
Spread: Patriots -2.5

Three Things to Watch

1. Intangibles
The Bills have alternated road and home games since Week 10, so they should be in a good spot for this one. Buffalo closes out the year with home tilts against the Falcons and Jets, so if it can get this victory, there's a chance to close out with four straight victories. As mentioned earlier, New England has one extra day of prep after playing last Saturday in Indy. The Patriots have actually lost four home games already and will have another one next week as they host Jacksonville. Still, this is a massive division game, so focus should be solid on both sides.

2. Bill Belichick
Early forecasts show cold weather with mild wind on Sunday in Foxboro. The vaunted coach has a bit of an advantage entering this one because he really didn't show any of his team's passing packages in the first meeting three weeks ago. He also knows that the Bills struggled to stop the run despite having 10 in the box at times. That has to be an advantage for a coach who doesn't really need them. Granted, Buffalo can look at film to see what Jones does well, but he was barely used a couple of Mondays ago.

3. Josh Allen's supporting cast
Allen had a superb game last year in New England, throwing for 320 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-9 victory in late December. He's had a decent season so far, but he's thrown for fewer than 220 yards in three of his last five games. But things could be a little more difficult as Cole Beasley and Davis both tested positive for COVID-19 and will be out for 10 days since they are unvaccinated. Beasley has been a solid safety valve, and Davis was coming off a great game, so it becomes more important that Emmanuel Sanders gets healthier. Isaiah McKenzie should also see extended action but has yet to top two receptions or 12 yards in a game this season.

Final Analysis

It's a huge game in New England in December, and it's really hard to pick against the home team. Yes, the Bills marched into Foxboro last year and got the win, but this year's team just doesn't have the same mystique that squad did. Their defense is banged up in certain spots, and the Patriots will have some things for the Bills that they aren't ready for. I just can't pick against them in this one.

Prediction: Patriots 24, Bills 20