Week 8 Preview: New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Billsby Andersen Pickard October 31, 2020 0 comments
A decades-old divisional rivalry continues this weekend, but it will look different than in recent years.
When the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills take the field on Sunday, Tom Brady won’t be there. The future Hall of Famer took his talents to Tampa Bay this offseason, leaving Cam Newton as the Patriots’ starter. Newton showed flashes of potential early in the season but has struggled mightily since then, putting New England’s seven-game winning streak against the Bills at risk of being broken.
Sean McDermott has been the Bills’ head coach for the last six Buffalo losses, giving him a career 0-6 record when opposing Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Belichick, meanwhile, is 35-6 all-time against the Bills. The two teams met twice in 2019, with the Patriots winning by one touchdown (or less) on both occasions.
Josh Allen has been very good for the Bills this season, tossing for over 2,000 yards, 16 touchdowns, and four interceptions. Newton, meanwhile, has yet to hit the 1,000-yard mark and has thrown just two touchdowns and seven interceptions. He is, however, the Patriots’ leading rusher with 50 carries for 244 yards and five scores on the ground. New England’s leading receiver is Julian Edelman, who has had his own struggles to the tune of 21 catches and 315 yards. Edelman underwent knee surgery recently and will miss at least three weeks, including Sunday vs. the Bills. As for Buffalo, Stefon Diggs has impressed in his first year with the Bills, catching 48 passes for 603 yards and two touchdowns.
The main storyline of this game? The Patriots’ injuries. In addition to Edelman, defensive tackle Carl Davis (concussion), wide receiver N’Keal Harry (concussion), elite cornerback Stephon Gilmore (knee), safety Kyle Dugger, and offensive lineman Justin Herron have all been ruled out. New England has an additional eight players listed as questionable.
With Edelman and Harry out, the Patriots are left with just three active receivers in Damiere Byrd, Gunner Olszewski, and Jakobi Meyers. The secondary is also banged-up; the absences of Dugger and Gilmore coupled with concerns around J.C. Jackson‘s status make the Patriots major underdogs against the Bills and their young, explosive offense.
Date: Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020
Start Time: 1:05 p.m. EST
Location: Buffalo, N.Y.
Stadium: Bills Stadium
TV Info: CBS
Betting Odds | Sponsored by Jazz Sportsbook
Point Spread: NE +4.5 (-110) | BUF -4.5 (-110)
Moneyline: NE +180 | BUF -225
Over/Under: O 41 (-110) | U 41 (-110)
While the Bills looked shaky against the Jets last week, they should still thrive against a porous Patriots team, so you’ll want to take Buffalo at -4.5. With that said, it’s going to be challenging to predict total points. Both teams could focus on running over passing, so expect the final score to be on the lower side. This might be a bet you want to avoid, but if you’re dead set on making a pick, take the under.
The Patriots should make it close, but it’s impossible to imagine any scenario in which they win. They’ll be without their two best players in Edelman and Gilmore and won’t be able to shake the underdog designation heading into Week 8.
Final Score: Bills 21, Patriots 16
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Main Image Credit:Embed from Getty Images