The Buffalo Bills will travel to Gillette Stadium to take on the Bills in an AFC East rivalry matchup. There will be a lot on the line this weekend, including the divisional crown. Buffalo added five players to the reserve/COVID list this week, with Cole Beasley already being ruled out for Week 16. Starting left tackle Dion Dawkins remains on the seven-man list. The Bills had three key names listed as limited to start the week in Jerry Hughes, Micah Hyde, and Emmanuel Sanders. Sanders being limited is actually good news, as the veteran receiver was unable to practice all of last week due to a knee injury.
New England has just five players on the reserve/COVID list, with the most notable being wide receiver Kendrick Bourne. The injury report is the bigger concern for the Patriots as Rhamondre Stevenson, and Nelson Agholor were listed as DNP on Wednesday. Key names listed as limited include David Andrews, Damien Harris, and Ja’Whaun Bentley.
Despite sitting one game behind the New England Patriots heading into Week 16, the Buffalo Bills still control their own destiny as far as the playoffs go. If Buffalo wins in Week 16 and finishes with the same record as the Patriots, they will clinch the AFC North. The season series will be 1-1 if the Bills win, moving the tie break to AFC East record. However, winning at Gillette Stadium after the Bills embarrassing home loss to the Patriots just three weeks ago may be a tough ask. If Buffalo is not careful, Miami could push them for second place in the AFC East. New England has the tougher remaining schedule but will control their own destiny if they beat the Bills this week. A win would mean they would be up two games on the Bills and own the head-to-head tiebreak. The win would clinch a playoff spot, with the Pats needing a Dolphins loss to clinch the division. New England laid out the formula to do away with the Bills in Week 13 and will be hoping a similar gameplan will be effective in Week 16.
The Bills and Patriots faced off just a few weeks ago, but with the wind not expected to play as pivotal a factor in the game’s outcome, this contest could still go either way. Both teams have near equal probabilities for a straight-up win, and with the point spread being less than three points, not much changes there. If New England can get Stevenson healthy and dominate on the ground again, Buffalo is going to have a tough time covering or emerging with the victory. However, if the Patriots are forced to open up their passing game to keep pace with the Bills, we would see a Buffalo cover and straight-up victory. The spread has climbed from -1 to -2 and could continue to move leading up to game time. Tap the Patriots if Stevenson is active. Tap the Bills if he is ruled out.
The total for this contest sits at 43.5, down from the 44.5 it opened at. Everyone expects more scoring than the 24 points we saw in Week 13, but as the line movement suggests, the under is still the sharp play. Divisional matchups often turn into defensive battles, and the under is 5-2 in the past seven meetings between these two teams. Some trends support the over, so we shouldn’t see much more movement this week, but lock the under in at FanDuel sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment.
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