After yet another disheartening loss for the Patriots in Week 3 against Baltimore, New England will take to the road again to do battle with fellow division rivals, the Buffalo Bills. At the beginning of the season, many pundits pegged both these teams to be the top-two teams in the AFC East but if the Pats don’t pick up their play, it could be the upstart Bills topping the division.
It has been 10 years since Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots have lost three straight games, and that’s what they’ll be facing Sunday afternoon in Orchard Park, New York. This is an angry Pats bunch coming off two tough losses, both games they really should have won. Look for Bill Belichick to have his side fully prepared and enter this contest with a huge chip on their shoulders. New England’s defense looks greatly improved compared to last season, while Tom Brady remains the most reliable quarterback in the sport. Expect the Pats to bring it on Sunday.
Conversely, for the Bills they’re viewing this as a major opportunity for their squad. To have a reeling New England squad come into a hostile Ralph Wilson Stadium is as good a time as any to make a statement. The Bills have rebounded nicely since their ugly Week 1 loss to the Jets, but wins against Kansas City and Cleveland can’t really prepare you for a powerful side like the Patriots. Expect the Bills to get some relief on the injury front as key running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller should return from injury. Though both are listed as questionable currently, expect at least one of Buffalo’s prolific backs to suit up on Sunday.
Patriots vs. Bills Spread & Betting Odds:
New England Patriots -3.5 (-110)
@ Buffalo Bills +3.5 (-110)
Over 50.5 (-110)
Under 50.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Patriots vs. Bills Pick:
Expect a fired up, angry, New England Patriots side when kick-off occurs Sunday afternoon. This is really a 1-2 team that should be 3-0. They’re better than last season’s group which won the AFC Championship and expect those traits to shine through against an overrated Buffalo side.
The Bills got embarrassed in Week 1, and wins over Cleveland and Kansas City hardly make their current 2-1 record impressive. The Pats have dominated this division for the past decade, and though the Bills have the chance to put New England two games back of them, don’t count on that scenario unfolding. For Buffalo to have a shot in this one, they need their defense to start performing up to their expectations. Defensive end Mario Williams finally recorded his first sack last week, and he’ll be crucial to Buffalo on Sunday. If Brady is given time and space to throw in the pocket, Buffalo stands no chance. But if the Bill’s heralded defensive line can disrupt the rhythm of the New England quarterback, perhaps the Bills can force turnovers and limit a lethal Patriots’ attack. Williams will be matched up against Sebastian Vollmer in a duel that could be pivotal to deciding the game.
But expect the Patriots to get the job done. Sure the Bills have some advantages on the defensive side of the football, but when it comes down to it all, the Patriots will find a way to end this unlucky slide. Brady holds an 18-2 record all-time against the Bills and has thrown more touchdown passes against Buffalo than any other team. Those totals will rise on Sunday. The Patriots remain the class of the AFC East and expect them to do just enough to protect Tom Brady, allowing him to hurt the Bills’ secondary through the air.
Expect an emotional clash that starts out as a close contest, but ultimately New England should pull away. Buffalo will likely be too reliant on the run game, and you just can’t trust Ryan Fitzpatrick against an opportunistic defense in a match of this magnitude. The Pats’ defense is much better opposed to last season, and will stifle a potent Bills attack. On the offense, Brady and Co. will play to their potential and be surgical like always. This team is loaded with weapons, and if Brady can get adequate protection, the likes of Gronkowski, Lloyd, and Welker cannot be contained. Look for a real statement-outing from one of football’s greatest coaches, and one of the game’s best quarterbacks. There’s a reason New England hasn’t lost 3 straight games in 10 years, and expect the Bills to learn that on Sunday. The Patriots will even up their record at 2-2, and do so in convincing fashion. Pats minus the points in Orchard Park.
PICK = Patriots -3.5 (-110)