Patriots Vs. Bills Predictions: Our Picks For Wild-Card Playoff Matchup

Buffalo hosts New England on Saturday night at Highmark Stadium


Jan 13, 2022

The New England Patriots will travel to Highmark Stadium on Saturday night for a wild-card playoff matchup with the Buffalo Bills.

The Bills, winners of the AFC East for the second consecutive season, enter as the favorites, but the Patriots can’t be counted out with Bill Belichick pulling the strings. Or can they?

New England and Buffalo met twice during the regular season, with the Patriots winning their Week 13 matchup in Orchard Park and the Bills claiming a Week 16 victory in Foxboro. The stakes obviously are heightened for the upcoming postseason matchup, though, as the winner stays alive in its quest for Super Bowl LVI glory while the loser heads home for the offseason.

We asked our NESN Digital team for their predictions ahead of Saturday’s Patriots vs. Bills showdown. Here are their responses, which paint the picture of a (somewhat) conflicted group.

George Balekji: Bills 28, Patriots 17
The Patriots have looked terrible in three of their last four games. And if not for a tornado in Buffalo, it likely would’ve been four of their last five. They still preach that better execution leads to wins, but we haven’t seen that. So fool me once, shame on you; fool me three times, you can’t get fooled again. The Bills had to duke it out their last three games, but they’ve found physicality along the offensive line, flow to their offense, and the defense has picked up, too. Even if Christian Barmore plays for New England, how good will his leg be? That injury ruins the Patriots’ entire interior presence. The Bills are great, the Patriots are good on their best day, and if Bill Belichick wasn’t their head coach, then it would be Buffalo winning 38-13.

Lauren Campbell: Patriots 24, Bills 21
The Patriots don’t have a ton of momentum on their side going into the wild-card matchup, but what better time to get it back than against an AFC East rival? These teams know each other quite well. If New England can limit turnovers on offense and the defense plays as well as it has this season, the Patriots have a chance to knock the Bills out of the playoffs.

Mike Cole: Bills 26, Patriots 23
Josh Allen’s numbers in the cold are unimpressive, at least when throwing the ball. Given the Patriots’ mental lapses on defense since the bye, though, it could be a big night on the ground for the Buffalo QB. It’s ultimately a close one, but it’s a game a rookie quarterback like Mac Jones isn’t quite ready to win on the road just yet.

Zack Cox: Bills 23, Patriots 17
The Patriots clearly are capable of winning in Buffalo. If they were at full strength, I might be leaning upset. But it looks like they’ll be shorthanded at several key spots, including cornerback and left tackle (and maybe safety, too). Can the Patriots slow down Josh Allen and this talented Bills offense if they’re starting Joejuan Williams at one cornerback spot? Or get enough points from Mac Jones to keep pace on what could be a historically cold night in Orchard Park? That’s a tough ask. I’m taking Buffalo in a tight one.

Ricky Doyle: Bills 27, Patriots 13
The Patriots have been slow starters this season, ranking 14th in first-quarter points per game (4.5) and 27th in opponent first-quarter points per game (5.2). The same can’t be said for the Bills, who rank sixth (6.0) and first (2.2), respectively, in those categories. If New England falls behind early — on the road, in dicey conditions — and needs to throw its way back into the game, good luck. Put simply: The Bills are the more talented, more well-rounded team.

Scott Edwards: Bills 27, Patriots 20
The Patriots had a difficult final month to their NFL season, outside of shellacking the Jaguars. They will get some reinforcements back (most likely) that were not there for the loss to the Dolphins in Week 18, but it feels as though it won’t be enough to stop the Bills at home for a second time this season.

Adam London: Bills 28, Patriots 20
We really can only draw from one of the two regular-season meetings between these teams, and Buffalo was by far the better side in the game that wasn’t held in a crazy windstorm. Josh Allen torched the Patriots on that late-December day in Foxboro without two of his best receivers. On Saturday, he’ll have his full complement of weapons playing before one of the best home crowds in sports. New England will struggle, put up a respectable fight in the second half and ultimately fall short.

Patrick McAvoy: Patriots 24, Bills 20
The Bills boast one of the best defenses in the league, but they don’t have Bill Belichick. The weather is going to be pretty gnarly, plus the Patriots looking to rebound should bode well for New England.

Sean McGuire: Bills 27, Patriots 21
The third-seeded Bills have the more talented quarterback, the more talented roster and it feels like the hosts won’t allow a slip-up like the last time the teams played in Buffalo.

Logan Mullen: Patriots 21, Bills 16
I can see the Bills leaning a lot on Tyler Bass to take points where they can get them, if for no other reason than this seems like a game where Sean McDermott will be way too conservative. While Buffalo’s offense might be more productive from a yardage standpoint, the guess here is the Patriots will stall less and do just enough to give them a victory, albeit a surprising one.

Dakota Randall: Bills 24, Patriots 20
New England’s losses down the stretch weren’t flukes. The Patriots played bad football, with their most important players — Mac Jones, Matthew Judon — significantly regressing. I don’t see how they can suddenly flip a switch. Plus, Jones has given us no reason to believe he can play well in cold weather, and this game could be played in sub-zero temperatures.

Thumbnail photo via NESN
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