New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills Preview
Where: New Era Field – Buffalo, New York
When: Sunday, October 30, 1:00 PM ET
TV Broadcast: CBS
Writer’s Pick: New England Patriots (-7)
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Betting on the New England Patriots (-7)
The Pats (6-1) are still plowing through opponents with Tom Brady leading the charge. Their latest victim was the Ben Roethlisberger-less Pittsburgh Steelers, whom they pretty comfortably beat 27-16 on the road. The Pats are now a perfect 3-0 SU and ATS with Brady starting at quarterback, and have won those three games by an average of 16 points.
Brady’s numbers against Pittsburgh (222 yards, 2 TDs) weren’t quite as impressive as the 380-plus yards and three touchdowns he averaged in his first two games, but the Pats didn’t really need him to be at his all-conquering best. LeGarrette Blount did most of the damage with 127 yards and two rushing touchdowns.
Of course, Brady was still serving out his four-game suspension when the Pats lost 16-0 loss to the Bills in Week 4, and had to start an injured rookie in Jacoby Brissett. Don’t expect the Pats to get shut out again with Brady back, though. The Pats have put up 30 or more points in five of their last six road games at Buffalo. That includes last year’s 40-32 win, where Brady threw for 466 yards and three touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the Pats defense’s gameplan to stop the Bills’ prolific rushing attack (152 yards per game, 2nd in NFL) will be a lot easier with LeSean McCoy likely not at his best, if he plays at all.
New England beating the Bills in Buffalo is the closest thing to a lock in the NFL these days. Since Bill Belichick took over as head coach in 2000, the Pats have gone 14-2 (11-4-1 ATS) in 16 trips to Buffalo.
Betting on the Buffalo Bills (+7)
The Bills’ (4-3) impressive four-game winning run came to a screeching halt as they were upset 28-25 on the road by the Miami Dolphins. It wasn’t really that surprising, though, seeing as the Bills’ star running back, LeSean McCoy, was very limited with a hamstring injury.
Shady finished with just 11 yards on 8 carries – he had averaged 145 yards in his last two games – and the Bills offense basically disappeared without him. Buffalo was outgained on offense by Miami, 454-267.
After playing when he was in no real shape to do so, McCoy’s participation against New England is once again in doubt. The continued absence of a completely effective McCoy will obviously be a massive blow to the Bills, especially with Tyrod Taylor still lacking consistent receiving threats.
Robert Woods, who missed the Miami game with a foot injury, will also be sorely missed if he’s out again. McCoy and Woods combined for 197 of the team’s 378 yards in Week 4’s win over the Pats.
It’ll take a monumental effort from the Bills defense to keep the team within striking distance amid their offense’s potential struggles. The Buffalo defense made some major strides during its four-game win streak, but it was gashed for 256 yards by Jay Ajayi and the Dolphins.
Moreover, the best quarterback (per total QBR) that defense has faced so far this season has been Carson Palmer (20th). Needless to say, Brady will be a significant step up in competition for that unit.
It’s tough to see McCoy recovering in time, and without him, the Bills don’t stand much of a chance. The Pats (-7) avoid a season sweep with a 31-13 road win.
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