New England Patriots (10-5) -6.5, 42 O/U at Buffalo Bills (7-8)
Ralph Wilson Stadium, Buffalo, N.Y., 1:00PM Eastern, Sunday
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
The New England Patriots had one of the most remarkable seasons in NFL history last year when they were a perfect 16-0 in the regular season. The dynasty team hit a speed bump this year when they loss their star quarterback in Tom Brady. The end of this season highlights something the Patriots have not been accustomed to for many years. That is battling for a playoff position. In recent years, the Patriots have locked up playoff positions well before the final week of the season. However this week they will not only need a win over the Bills, but they will need some other teams to lose as well. The Patriots are tied for first in the AFC East playoff race. The Patriots will need a win plus a Miami loss to clinch the division. If the Dolphins win, the Patriots will need the Baltimore Ravens to lose in order to grab the final wildcard position.
New England has knocked off three straight opponents convincingly while showing signs of the Patriots team from a year ago. The last two games the Patriots have scored 47 points and 49 points returning to their high profile offense that we are all familiar to. The Patriots hope to keep things rolling in an important match-up against the struggling Bills. QB Matt Cassel has filled in nicely as Tom Bradys replacement. Cassel has stepped in and kept the New England passing attack effective as usual. Cassel has been sharp completing 63% of his passes for 3,615 yards on the season. Cassel has also been responsible for 21 touchdowns along with 11 interceptions. New England will attempt to expose the Buffalo secondary this Sunday and keep putting up big numbers.
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Buffalo has really struggled down the stretch and do not appear to be a team to pull off the upset. However, the Bills did get a victory last week 30-23 against the Denver Broncos. The win was a much needed confidence boost in a stretch that the Bills previously had only won a single contest in 8 games. The Bills started off the season strong winning 4 straight games and they would love to end the season on a good note similar to the way they started. The Bills have not faired well on either side of the ball this season ranking fairly mediocre on offense and defense. Buffalo has not won an AFC East game this season going 0-5 against teams in their own division. The Bills will try to change that this weekend when they get the Patriots at home on Sunday.
BetOnline has the betting line posted with the New England Patriots being favored by 6.5 points over the Bills. Early betting action shows a very large portion of the betting public has jumped all over the Patriots ATS and the lines could begin to move. The over/under for the contest has been posted at a mark of 42 with early action showing the public favoring the over for the game.
The Patriots wide outs have become a bigger factor with every growing week this season. Wes Welker is 36 yards away from having the biggest year of his career in terms of total yards. Welker leads the team with 1,139 receiving yards this season and 4 touchdowns. Fellow teammate and star receiver Randy Moss has had another big year with 995 yards and 11 touchdowns. Moss may not have had the year he would have if Brady would have been the starter, but he is still a big factor in all of the Patriots games. Keep an eye on these playmakers this weekend in a game that has huge implications for the Patriots.
Buffalo has had solid success this season behind running back Marshawn Lynch. Lynch has 1036 yards on the season with 8 touchdowns while sporting a strong 4.1 yards per carry. The Bills QB Trent Edwards has had an average year behind center. Edwards is completing a strong 66% of his passes, but has thrown 10 picks this season with only 11 touchdowns. Edwards has put together 2,571 passing yards this season and has been tampered with a groin injury over the past few weeks. Edwards will look to lead the Bills offense and shock the nation with an upset over the Patriots.
The Patriots are 18-7 in their last 25 games on the road and have reached the over total in 5 of their last 5 games. Buffalo is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games at home and also 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games against the Patriots.
Jays Pick - Im hitting a two-team parlay on this one taking the Patriots ATS and the over.