What experts are predicting for Sunday’s Patriots-Bills game

Patriots

The Patriots are 8.5-point underdogs for Sunday’s game as some believe they can keep it close.

Josh Allen has dominated the Patriots over the last few seasons, winning six of the last seven matchups between the two teams. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)

COMMENTARY

You can get in the building this weekend for as little as $80, a cost that for some reason represents a fairly strong ticket market at Gillette Stadium. The cheapest ticket to the Chiefs on Dec. 18 is currently $120. 

You can also see the Chargers for as little as $81; the Commanders for $99. The buy-in price for the season finale against the Jets is only $49, which seems high. 

Remember though, that cost also includes having to watch the Patriots play. At least in between interminable TV timeouts. 

The home team hasn’t won at Gillette Stadium since Jan. 1 against the Dolphins. They’re 0-3 at home already this year, coming off a 34-0 loss to the New Orleans Saints two Sundays ago. Quarterback Mac Jones leads an offense that has scored 37 points at home this season, an average of 12.3 points per game. 

If the Patriots have any shot to beat the Buffalo Bills Sunday afternoon in Foxborough, it’s going to take the same sort of Act of God that handed the Patriots a win in Buffalo two seasons ago. Counting that outlier, the Bills have won six of the last seven meetings. Not many of the games have really been close. 

So, does the fact that the Giants played the Bills so close last weekend mean anything for the Patriots? New York is the only team to score fewer points (71 to New England’s 72) this season. Imagine the thrills in store when those two teams face off in Week 12. Belichick might have to write a book about it. 

Still, once Bill O’Brien decided to lean on the running game (against one of the league’s worst run defenses in Las Vegas), New England’s offense did stir to life – finally – during last week’s loss. Might these signs, coupled with the reality that players and coaches will be fighting for their jobs, point to a Patriots upset? 

No. 

This week’s predictions: 

Globe staff: Three of six pick the Patriots (+8.5)

Greg Cote, Miami Herald: Bills 27, Patriots 13. “I keep thinking the Pats cannot be this bad (can they?), and that blind faith in whatever is left of Bill Belichick’s mojo keeps costing me. Josh Allen (shoulder) is questionable but should play, and feast on an injury-wracked NE defense. Buffalo had wake-up call with that unimpressive win against Giants, and now Mac Jones faces a Bills defense that has allowed only one TD (total!) during past four games.”

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Bills 31, Patriots 14. “The Patriots are a mess right now, but the Bills didn’t look great in beating the Giants on Sunday night. That won’t matter here. The Bills have owned the Patriots in recent years and this version of Bill Belichick’s team is awful. Look for Josh Allen and the offense to get back on track here. Blowout.”

CBS Sports staff: Bills (-8.5) across the board. 

Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times: Bills 34, Patriots 10. “There’s no hiding it, the Patriots are terrible. After all those beatdowns over the years, the Bills are going to exact some revenge. The Bills narrowly beat the Giants, but this will be more convincing.”

Michael Hurley, CBS Boston: Bills. “On the plus side, the Patriots will have a high draft pick and boatload of cap space next year, thus allowing them to navigate their way back to being competitive if they hire the right people and make the right moves. That’s all a big if, though.”

Jimmy Kempski, Philly Voice: Bills (-8.5). “I see maybe 3 or 4 wins left on the Patriots’ schedule, if that. And you know what? If things go really badly the rest of the way, I wouldn’t rule them out of the Caleb Williams sweepstakes. Looking back at the preseason talk about the Pats, it’s funny that there were more than a few people who were like, ‘Bill O’Brien is going to come in and fix this offense.’ The only team they’ve outscored this season is the Giants, and only by one point (72-71). And the Giants haven’t scored an offensive touchdown since Week 3.”

ESPN staff: Seth Wickersham picks the Patriots. Everybody else likes the Bills. 

Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports: Patriots (+8.5). “The Bills have played six games. They’ve been great in three and pretty bad in three. I think the Bills are a very good team but top teams usually don’t play poorly half the time. The Patriots certainly are not good, but one of these weeks they’ll compete.” 

Sheil Kapadia, The Ringer: Bills (-8.5). “The best betting strategy of the past two years: Fade the Patriots as underdogs. After last week’s loss to the Raiders, the Patriots have now failed to cover as underdogs in 11 (!) straight games with Mac Jones as their quarterback. There are no more disclaimers necessary. This is just a flat-out terrible team.”

MMQB staff: Everybody loves Buffalo. 

SB Nation staff: Everybody loves the Bills. 

Vinnie Iyer, The Sporting News: Bills 30, Patriots 20. “The Bills have to be frustrated by being so close to losing to the Giants at home on Monday night, perhaps taking the matchup vs. former offensive coordinator Brian Daboll too lightly. They will have no trouble making a road statement to give the AFC East rival Patriots their knockout punch. The Patriots’ defense can’t stop much of what Josh Allen can do and the Bills hold up OK against the run again despite big injuries.”

Bill Bender, The Sporting News: Bills 27, Patriots 17. “The Patriots can’t score. They have just 20 points over the last three weeks, and Mac Jones’ time as the starting quarterback is running short. The Bills are 6-1 against New England since Tom Brady left, and the last five regular-season wins have been by double digits. Bill Belichick will do his best to slow down Buffalo, but look for a better offensive performance from Josh Allen.” 

Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: Bills 40, Patriots 14. “The Bills will take no pity whatsoever on the overmatched Patriots.”

Chris Simms, Pro Football Talk: Bills 28, Patriots 17. 

It says here: Bills 33, Patriots 17. Remember the ’94 Patriots team that started 3-6 yet made the playoffs by closing out the season with a seven-game winning streak? This is not that team. 

Originally posted 2023-10-20 13:27:14.


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