New England Patriots (9-0) -16, 46.5 O/U at Buffalo Bills (5-4) +16, Ralph Wilson Stadium, Buffalo, 8.15pm EST Sunday
by The Crazy Snake of Predictem.com
Shall we discuss which team will win this game? I would rather discuss the shape of the AFC East. One team 9-0, the Bills at 5-4 and the other two teams at 1-8 and 0-9 respectively. Nobody’s suggesting the Patriots aren’t a great team, but when you have such mediocrity to beat divisionally it sure does become easier to post some astoundingly dominant numbers. There is only one statistic of dominance that matters here: The Patriots have won 8 straight against the Bills, and barring a catastrophe should make it 9.
The margin is much trickier, however. The massive 16 point start afforded the Bills that the sportsbooks drifted from an early week 14.5 just seems like such an impost on the Patriots. But it’s hard to see how the Bills can remain close. They have lost Marshawn Lynch and their running game will be significantly poorer for that loss. That places major pressure on JP Losman to play out of his skin, something he didn’t get a chance to do in the Bill’s week 3 38-7 loss in Foxboro, as he went down injured in the opening series.
The Patriots hold all the cards in reality. Randy Moss has more than 4 inches in height advantage over the Bill’s corners in addition to blazing speed and a vice like grip. Brady could put up plenty of jump balls for Randy to pluck and he would be a fair chance to catch them all.
If that wasn’t daunting enough for the Bills pass defense, they have to curtail the hot Donte Stallworth and the superb Wes Welker. I wonder if NE will self impose a mercy rule to prevent the carnage on the Bills’ secondary. In their 52-7 annihilation of Washington in week 8 they went on 4th down leading 38-7. I don’t think the Bills can hope for any mercy here. Especially when you consider how well the Colts’ defense stifled them in week 9. The Pats will want to get free and light it up. I guess they’ll see it as a form of liberation from the clutches of the Colts’ relentless pressure.
So that is probably the only argument in this game. How many points do the Patriots want to score. The Bills aren’t bad against the pass, mind you. They are ranked a lowly 26th, but have only given up a combined 3 TDs through the air in their 4 consecutive wins. There’s only one problem with that theory, however. They have met the Ravens, Jets, Bengals and Dolphins. Only one of those teams could claim to have a serviceable air attack at this point, and even that one couldn’t score an aerial TD last week, settling for 7 consecutive field goals.
The Snake’s Bite: This could get ugly, really ugly. The Patriots coming off the bye will be hungry to get back into it and that kind of motivation could see them in record breaking mode again. Despite the huge 16 point impost I see New England covering the points. The only hope for Buffalo as I see it is if they get a dirty day weather-wise, which could serve to compress the scores.