There has been some better news of late regarding the Bills safety, with reports that the has opened his eyes, communicated with doctors, and even asked if Buffalo won their game against the Bengals on Monday night. Incredible progress, thanks to all of the medical personnel who came to Hamlin’s rescue.
With circumstances thankfully looking up, the Bills and the Patriots seem to be moving foeward as scheduled with a 1pm kickoff on Sunday from Buffalo’s Highmark Stadium. Jim Nantz and Tony Romo will be on the call for CBS.
Here are the odds for Sunday, thanks to our exclusive wagering partners at BetOnline.ag:
Odds – Patriots (8-8) vs. Bills (12-3)
Spread: Bills -6.5
Moneyline: Bills -310/Patriots +260
The football story heading into Sunday is the fact that the Patriots are in win-and-in mode despite being just 2-2 since their last matchup versus Buffalo – where they got their doors blown off in primetime. Here’s what I wrote about New England after their loss to the Bills in November:
Put it all together and you get what happened tonight. A middling football team that can’t hang with the best of them in the conference.
They don’t have a high-powered offense and they don’t have a defense that can stop those types of offenses. New England is now back to .500 with a 6-6 record, and their path to the postseason play gets longer and steeper by the week.
Not much has changed – but their circumstances have. They somehow still control their fate and can get into the postseason for the second year in a row with a win on Sunday.
Players to Watch
In his most important NFL game to date, all eyes are going to be on quarterback Mac Jones. Jones played well a week ago in New England’s win vs. Miami throwing two touchdowns and continuing to take care of the football – but will have his work cut out for him vs. a motivated Buffalo team on Sunday.
Jones will look to improve upon his offense’s lackluster 10-point performance from their first matchup in November.
After missing last week’s game against the Dolphins with a concussion, Marcus Jones returned to the practice field on Thursday and should be ready to go for Sunday.
Jones, a cornerback, was New England’s leading receiver in their week 14 matchup vs. the Bills – and although they’ll want to get their actual pass catchers going this time around, I’d expect a healthy dose of the Marcus Jones package on offense once again.
I’m keeping my eye on Patriots captain Matt Slater this weekend -strictly because it’ll likely be his last NFL game.
Slater said after last Sunday’s game that the idea of it being his last game in Gillette Stadium, “It was definitely in the back of my mind… I took time to pause.” We’ll see if he can get a win in his final regular season game and prolong his journey at least one more week.
A week after shutting down Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, New England’s banged-up secondary has the privilege of covering Josh Allen’s security blanket Stefon Diggs on Sunday.
In their first matchup, Diggs caught 7 catches for 92 yards and a TD in the 24-10 win in Foxboro. With Jalen Mills back at practice, they’ll likely line him up against Diggs and hope for some improvement.
Buffalo’s leading tackler in 2022-23, Tremaine Edmonds is one the many cornerstones of this Bills defense. Though not filling up the stat sheets with interceptions or sacks, Edmonds is an elite defender who is constantly in the right place at the right time. Mac Jones will need to have an eye on him before every snap on Sunday.
The Bills have gone through too much this week to now come out on fire on Sunday. They’re going to want to play for their brother Damar as he continues to fight, and I think New England ends up on the other end of a team on fire this weekend.
The Patriots season ends at 8-9, and they go into the offseason with plenty more questions than answers.
Prediction: Bills 24 – Patriots 16
Side: Bills -6.5
Total: UNDER 44
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