The New England Patriots haven’t faced a tough test yet this season, facing three teams with a combined 0-9 record so far. But on Sunday, they’ll take on the unbeaten Buffalo Bills on the road in what could be a measuring stick for both teams.
On one hand, the Patriots have owned the Bills over the last two decades, going 30-3 with Tom Brady at quarterback. But this is a much-improved Bills team with second-year quarterback Josh Allen leading the offense and a shutdown defense deep in all three phases.
The Patriots’ defense has been the best in the league this season, allowing no offensive touchdowns including shutouts in the first half over the past five games dating back to last postseason. New England has recorded six takeaways, all interceptions, in three games including a pair of defensive touchdowns.
But the Patriots have struggled to contain mobile quarterbacks in the past, and Josh Allen is having a strong start to the season. Couple that with a Bills defense that has stuffed the run all season long.
New England Patriots vs Buffalo Bills
Sunday, September 29, 2019 at 1 p.m.
New Era Field, Orchard Park, New York
*All odds and betting info courtesy of OddsShark and originally posted by BetOnline
Spread: New England (-7 at -104)
Over/Under: 41.5 (-110 either side)
New England Patriots
Although the offense has been flashy, the Patriots’ defense has been the real staple this season. Linebacker Jamie Collins’ return to the team has coincided with a strong pass rush and even stronger pass coverage. Collins is looking like an All-Pro in both the rush and coverage while defensive tackles Adam Butler and Michael Bennett have both been explosive.
In the secondary, Devin McCourty has three picks in as many games while Stephon Gilmore continues to back up his reputation as the league’s top corner with his play on the field. He’s gotten support from Jonathan Jones and Jason McCourty in coverage.
On offense, New England has struggled to rush the ball but has still successfully established a play-action to get its elite receiving unit involved. Josh Gordon, Phillip Dorsett, and Julian Edelman are the top pass-catchers for the team with Rex Burkhead and James White getting involved out of the backfield.
Buffalo has one of the top offenses in the NFL thanks to a diverse rushing attack. Frank Gore has been the team’s leading rusher while Devin Singletary, T.J. Yeldon, and Josh Allen have all gotten carries as well. The Bills rely on a variety of backs to stay fresh and keep opposing defense on their toes.
Defensively, the Bills have been even better. Buffalo is fifth in the NFL allowing 299 yards of offense per game and have only allowed 47 points all season. While the Bills defense has recorded seven takeaways, Buffalo has also turned the ball over six times.
In the passing game, Allen has been able to involve Cole Beasley and John Brown heavily but has been heavily pressured with an even touchdown-to-interception ratio. Buffalo hasn’t exactly played quality opposition either, with their first three opponents going a combined 1-8 this season.
This one won’t be easy for the Patriots given how tough a place Buffalo is to play. New England, however, could make a statement in the early stages of the game on offense. The chief concern for New England will be containing the Bills backfield.
Both teams have been trending under over their past few games, but with such a low total this year it’s tough to think it will turn out that way again.
Pick: The Patriots should move to 4-0 but could push the spread. Seven points is a tough one to pick a side on. The point total should drip over. Take New England, 28-20, in a gritty, ugly game.