Week 16 is one game away from going in the books. The New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills will play the final game of Week 16 on Monday night at Bills Stadium. This game is a role reversal of sorts. Usually it’s the Patriots that are looking to do housekeeping late in the season in preparation for a deep playoff run. The Patriots have been a fixture at the top of the AFC East, but the tide has changed. The Bills have already clinched the AFC East, which represents the first time since 1995 that they’ve won the division. It goes without question that this is the best era of Bills’ football since Jim Kelly was the starting quarterback.
With the Josh Allen era just heating up in Buffalo, the Bills are going to be a contender for the foreseeable future. The Dolphins, not the Patriots, could be their biggest threat in the division over the next few years. Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins’ defense likely isn’t going anywhere. And as far as the Patriots are concerned, it’s going to be interesting to see what Bill Belichick does in the offseason. Who is going to be their starting quarterback next year?
Cam Newton doesn’t deserve a big contract extension, that much is for certain. Having said that, the majority of the Patriots’ offense is talentless. I like Damien Harris in the backfield, and Julian Edelman still gives his all despite playing banged up this season, but Edelman is aging fast and should be more of a complementary piece at this point in an offense. Jakobi Meyers would be nice in a complementary role as well for the Patriots. N’Keal Harry was supposed to be the impact player, but he has failed to develop.
In summary, the Patriots don’t have an impact player, and their offense is essentially based around Cam finding yards on his legs. Even in their 45-point explosion against the Chargers a few weeks ago, it was the defense frustrating Justin Herbert that led to all of those points. Since then, the Patriots have scored just 15 points against the Rams and Dolphins. I don’t know how much interest the Patriots have tonight, but a rivalry game against a divisional foe might get them going. Head below for our free Bills vs. Patriots props for December 28, 2020.
It's been a long time coming…
Your Buffalo Bills are AFC East Champions. pic.twitter.com/YTaAZqzEXk
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) December 20, 2020
Cam Newton Passing Yards
The Bills used to depend all on their defense to win games. That was pretty well the only thing they had going for them. However, the arrival of Stefon Diggs has turned the Bills into more of an offensive force. They are winning games more often with their offense rather than winning low-scoring 17-10 type games.
However, give the defense credit for a 26-15 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers two weeks ago. They have still come up big in spots, but do give up yardage. The Bills have been a run of the mill secondary in 2020. They’ve conceded an average of 234.7 passing yards per, which is a mid-tier unit compared to the rest of the league.
I’m confident that the Bills will be able to score against the Patriots. The Pats’ defense is lightyears ahead of the offense at this point, but containing Allen and Diggs will prove to be a difficult task at the fanless Gillette Stadium. Cam is coming off an okay day against the Dolphins, as he passed for 207 yards with no touchdowns and interceptions. In the Patriots’ first meeting against the Bills, Cam threw for 174 yards with no touchdowns and interceptions.
He fumbled the game away on a late drive that changed the course of the Patriots’ season drastically. They were driving until he fumbled deep in Bills’ territory late in the fourth. The Bills recovered and secured a 24-21 win. I’m going to give Cam the benefit of the doubt and bet on him having at least a respectable performance at home in primetime. His passing prop is low for a reason because of the Patriots’ offense, but I’m going to take the bait and say he records around 200 yards again this week.
Zack Moss Rushing Yards
Zack Moss has been seeing more time in the backfield as his productivity has increased. The rookie out of Utah has gained 416 yards and 3 touchdowns on 4.3 yards per carry. As a first-year running back, the main goal is to see progress from the beginning of the year to the end. I think the Bills are getting that with Bills. He received double-digit carries in back-to-back games for the first time this season recently. Moss ran for 43 yards on 13 carries against the Patriots, and then most recently, he gained 81 yards on 13 attempts for 6.2 yards per carry.
Moss has ran for at least 43 yards in three out of his last four outings. The Patriots have been solid against the pass, which has been their only strength, but susceptible on the ground. They’ve allowed only 212.4 passing yards per game, though 133 rushing yards is too much and ranks near the back. Only five teams are worse than the Pats on the ground defensively. I can see Moss getting into the 50’s here, so a play on the OVER at 42.5 looks good.
Dawson Knox Receptions
The strength of the Patriots has been their secondary. Despite a down season in Foxborough, JC Jackson and the secondary have shown up to play consistently. However, they took a blow after Stephon Gilmore injured his knee last week and was placed on the IR. That will do it for Gilmore in 2020. The biggest riser in 2020 for the Pats has been Jackson.
He didn’t make the Pro Bowl, but probably deserved to be on the list as an all-star. Big challenge for Jackson tonight against Stefon Diggs, but I think he can play well to an extent against one of the best receivers in the NFL. If JC thinks he’s a pro bowler, then he’ll be motivated in this one.
With Diggs getting a lot of attention lately, tight end Dawson Knox has been seeing plenty of targets the last three weeks. Knox has been targeted 15 times the last three weeks. He had 2 receptions for 36 yards and a touchdown versus the Broncos a week ago.
If the Bills weren’t blowout the Broncos out, he likely gets a couple more receptions. Prior to that outing, Knox had 4 receptions for 27 yards against the 49ers, and 4 receptions for 34 yards against the Steelers. I don’t foresee the Bills running away with a win on the road. The Patriots likely have some pride left in them. Knox likely sees one more reception than last week.