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Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots Point Spread - Pick

Buffalo Bills (10-4 SU, 9-4-1 ATS) vs. New England Patriots (11-3 SU, 8-6 ATS)
Week 16 NFL
Date/Time: Saturday, December 21, 2019 at 4:30PM EST
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts
TV: NFL

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: BUF +7/NE -7
Over/Under Total: 38.5

The Buffalo Bills come into Foxborough on Saturday to take on the New England Patriots in a key AFC East battle. This isn't the late-season throwaway divisional game that it has been in past seasons, with Buffalo still having a lot to play for, while New England has an agenda of their own. On Sunday. The Pats were able to put a stop to a 2-game losing streak with a 34-13 win over the Bengals. At 11-3, they look to solidify their postseason case at home against a Bills team that stayed in the mix on Sunday with a really big win at Pittsburgh, beating a red-hot Steelers team, 17-10, to clinch a playoff spot. It's clear that they mean business and the first game of the season between these two teams confirms that.

When divisional teams play this late in a season, looking at an early-season result can be helpful, but we want to proceed with caution. Still, some things might hold true, namely how both teams have defenses that might outshine the other side of the ball by a fair margin. A 16-10 Patriots win in Buffalo in week four was neither exciting, nor was it memorable. Nevertheless, the Buffalo defense held the Pats to 11 first downs on the day, as Brady had a truly-awful game. Buffalo's Josh Allen wasn't a ton better, throwing three picks. A big game on the ground for Buffalo, with Frank Gore going for over 100 was not enough in a game where offense was scarce. A blocked punt returned for a TD by the Pats was the decisive score. Even with the Bills having elevated their form this season and having shown they can compete with the 2019 Patriots, there is a mental hump to clear for a Buffalo franchise that has beaten their rival just 3 out of 19 times in a decade that is about to come to a close.

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It wasn't easy at first for the Patriots on Sunday and one of the early surprises on the NFL ticker was seeing the Bengals up 10-7 until early in the second when the Pats started steadily pulling away. Despite the lopsided win and cover, there are still issues with a Patriots' team that doesn't appear to be peaking at the right time. The offense appears to be a bit dysfunctional and for now, they're banking on their defense to help get them over the hump, with mixed results. This matchup should give us a better idea as to where the Patriots really stand.

With the New England defense having scored last week, the offense was again not in-tune. Tom Brady was 15 for 29 with 128 yards. He did throw two touchdowns, but a look at Brady's recent stat-line shows a lot of clunkers lately. It doesn't help that he has one of the least-prolific supporting casts that he's ever had around him. Julian Edelman isn't the consistent deliverer he once was and while N'Keal Harry has promise and they get a lot of aerial production from their backs, Brady lacks the compelling targets he once had. Sunday was the first time since week seven that the Patriots surpassed 30 points in scoring.

It's hard to say much bad about a New England defense that has been carrying the team. And at home now, they face a team they held to ten points earlier this season. There's a lot to like and having a "D" that can change the complexion of a game with big plays in a big advantage. They've picked off 25 passes this season and look to once again wield that ability against Allen and the Bills this week. They're also incredibly stout, giving up precious few big games up to opposing quarterbacks. Is this a spot where one could suspect the Bills offense to thrive? There isn't much let-up in the run-defense, which is more bad news for Buffalo, though they did have some success the first time this season on that front and if not undermined again by turnovers and miscues, who knows?

It speaks highly of a Bills team to martial their resources to rebound from a tough loss to Baltimore the previous week to go into Heinz Field to score the big win, keeping them in the running for the AFC East. Some big plays kept the Steelers' offense subdued and while the Bills' offense didn't flourish, they did enough. A win here over a New England team where they might be catching the Pats at the right time could go a long way—both in terms of the standings, but also in terms of confidence.

The Bills got a good performance from Devin Singletary on Sunday, as his 87 yards on the ground were crucial. As often is the case, WB Josh Allen used his legs to good affect, as he struggled aerially. He ran in a TD on Sunday night, but his 139 passing yards was on the low-side and other than 99 yards receiving for John Brown, most everyone else was pretty silent. For the purposes of this game and their prospects looking forward, how well this side of the ball is able to manufacture points with an offense without any real stars is the whole key.

The Bills will see things go a little more difficultly this week after seeing it go mostly their way against Pittsburgh last week. Still, after giving up only 16 to this group already this season and with the Pats offense not looking any better, they could be licking their chops. But even in losing to the Ravens, allowing only 24 points a few weeks ago, leading up to their 10-point allowance against the Steelers last week, this side of the ball is playing well. Sunday was a typical day, with stout play aerially and against the run, along with a big playmaking upside with Jordan Phillips leading the way with two sacks, while Tre'Daviousness White had two picks, with Jordan Poyer and Levi Wallace also getting interceptions.

This is a tough part of the season for the Bills, facing their second straight difficult road game. But I like their spirit and they may be peaking after some bumpy passages. With their defense and with how the Pats just don't seem to be themselves, I wouldn't go so far as to forecast a straight-up win, but it's reasonable enough in this spot to see them staying within the number. I'll take Buffalo.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Buffalo Bills plus 7 points. Bet the Buffalo-New England game for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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