Following the departure of Tom Brady the AFC East was considered to be wide open. The Buffalo Bills were the preseason favorite to win their first division title since 1995 and they delivered by clinching with last week’s win in Denver, their seventh in the last eight games. Buffalo can further cement its position as the No. 2 seed in the conference by beating the New England Patriots when the teams square off on Monday Night Football. Buffalo’s recent run included a win over the Pats ending a 7-game losing streak in the series. The Bills can secure their first season sweep over the Pats since 1999 after ending New England’s 11-year reign at the top of the division standings. Bookmaker.eu offers a generous welcome bonus (max bonus $1600)
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots
Date and Time: Monday, December 28, 2020, 8:15 p.m. ET
Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA
NFL Odds: Buffalo -7, O/U 46.5
Bills at Patriots TV Coverage: ESPN
The Bills have a chance to do something no team has done against New England in the past two decades. The last time the Pats were swept by a division opponent in a season series was in 2000, so you can bet after years of getting knocked around Buffalo is looking for some payback. The Bills are a converted touchdown favorite on the betting line, their highest spread against the Pats since the 1993 season. The Bills covered the 6-point line against the Broncos last week winning their fifth straight ATS. They are 9-5 ATS overall and 9-4-1 against the OVER. The Pats are playing out the string after losing in Miami 22-12 last week, failing to cover the line in their last two games. For the second straight game the Pats failed to score a touchdown and the offense has been a sore spot all season. They cashed the UNDER in each of their last six games and the Pats are 6-8 ATS. New England covered the 4-point spread in the first meeting and is 6-2 ATS in the last eight matchups with Buffalo.
There probably isn’t a hotter team in the NFL right now than the Bills, who are a “Hail Murray” desperation heave away from owning an eight-game winning streak. Instead of letting that game affect the remainder of their season, the Bills have been strong since with four straight wins by double-digits. Some might say the level of competition hasn’t been the best, but the Bills did what they had to in order to claim their first AFC East crown since 1995.
I don’t think the Bills are done, either. They seem to be peaking at the right time with the defense finally catching up with Josh Allen and the offense. Allen has put together a strong case for MVP honors collecting his seventh game with more than 300 yards passing with 359 and two touchdowns in the win over Denver. Allen was named the NFL’s Player of the Week for a fourth time. He’s fourth in the league in passing yards with 4,000 to go along with 30 touchdowns.
The Bills can’t catch Kansas City for first in the conference, but they can lock up the No. 2 seed with a win. And they’ve been on a heater the last month going 5-0 ATS in their last five games. The defense ranks in the middle of the pack in most categories, but the unit has played better recently limiting the last two opponents and three of the previous four to fewer than 20 points.
New England Patriots
The run of success the Pats enjoyed over the last two decades will never be matched. Their streak of 11 straight division titles and 17 consecutive double-digit win seasons has ended. The Pats will also miss the postseason for the first time since 2008. The Pats played nearly the entire 2008 season without Tom Brady, who sustained a knee injury in the first game yet they still won 11 games with Matt Cassell leading the show. That was a reason for optimism heading into 2020 with Cam Newton taking over for the GOAT.
But the Newton experiment hasn’t worked, at least where it matters. The Pats dropped their last two games without getting a touchdown after they seemingly gained some confidence with a 45-0 win over the Chargers in Week 13. The passing game has struggled with Newton averaging just 183.1 yards per game through the air. He has only five touchdown passes and 10 interceptions. The Pats average a measly 20.6 points to rank 27th.
With the amount of success the Pats have enjoyed in the series they likely have a mental advantage. Prior to their loss at the beginning of last month, they had won seven straight, nine of the last 10 and 15 of the previous 17 meetings. The script has changed, though, and the Bills are the top dog, at least this season.
Bet Bills at Patriots at BookMaker.eu
There still is plenty for the Bills to play for. Locking up the No. 2 seed gives them at least two home playoff games, should they advance, and they can inflict more pain on the Patriots after years of abuse. The Bills are trending in the fight direction while the Pats have been hit hard with injuries, taking Stephon Gilmore out of the lineup. His absence opens the secondary for Allen to have another big game, which is why backing the visitors minus the points is a good play.
NFL Score Prediction: Bills 31, Patriots 20
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– Phil Simon, Gambling911.com