The Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots will meet for the second time this month in a Week 16 matchup with major AFC playoff picture implications. The Patriots picked up the 14-10 victory in Week 13, but this week should offer much better playing conditions after the first meeting was played in extreme winds. The home side Patriots are sitting as 2.5-point favorites ahead of the divisional matchup.
Can the Bills defense stop the run after failing to do so in Week 13? Can the Patriots rebound after seeing their seven-game winning streak snapped by the Colts? Find out in our free picks, predictions, and NFL odds for Bills vs. Patriots.
Bills vs Patriots odds
Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.
New England was -2 on the look-ahead and opened as a pick ‘em on Sunday night. It was immediately hit by sharp money, which pushed the line to NE -2.5. The total opened at 44.5 but has fallen through the key total number of 44 to 43.5.
Bills vs Patriots predictions
Predictions made on 12/22/2021 at 11:30 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Bills vs Patriots game info
• Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA
• Date: Sunday, December 26, 2021
• Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
• TV: CBS
Bills at Patriots betting preview
Bills: Cole Beasley WR (Out), Star Lotulelei DT (Out), Tommy Sweeney TE (Out).
Patriots: Nelson Agholor WR (Out), Shaun Wade CB (Out), Devin Asiasi TE (Out), Joshuah Bledsoe S (Out), Rhamondre Stevenson RB (Out).
Find our latest NFL injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Patriots are 7-1 against the spread in their last eight games. Find more NFL betting trends for Bills vs. Patriots.
Bills vs Patriots picks and predictions
Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.
The Buffalo Bills will have a second crack at beating the Patriots to make a push for the AFC East title Sunday at Gillette Stadium. The first meeting, back in Week 13, was played in the windiest conditions of the season in a game that saw the Patriots rush the ball 46 times compared to just three passes. New England dominated the line of scrimmage, which is alarming for the Bills because they knew it was coming and still couldn’t stop it.
Getting beaten at the line of scrimmage wasn’t a one-off for the Bills as they’ve struggled to solve good running teams this season. The Titans (with Derrick Henry) ran for 146 yards on just 22 carries vs. the Bills in Week 6 while the Colts embarrassed Buffalo at home in Week 11 with Jonathan Taylor rushing for a season-high 185 yards and four scores. The Bills sit fourth in EPA/play against the run but those numbers are skewed with bad teams and blow-out Buffalo wins. They've shown a weakness versus good running teams and it will be tough for Sean McDermott to make significant adjustments Sunday without any help coming on defense.
Both teams are dealing with a handful of injuries to their receivers, but this will likely hurt the Bills more than it does the Patriots. The Pats could be without N’Keal Harry, Kendrick Bourne, and Nelson Agholor, but with a run-heavy approach, this will have a minimal impact. Mac Jones will continue to get his tight ends heavily involved in the passing game with his other targets sidelined.
Also in New England’s favor is the possible return of Damien Harris, who missed last week’s contest. If Harris can get back, the combination of him and Rhamondre Stevenson should be formidable.
Two of Buffalo's starters on the offensive line are questionable with Jon Felciano and Dion Dawkins being placed on the COVID list last weekend. With them absent, the Panthers sacked Josh Allen four times in Week 15. Buffalo will also be without Cole Beasley with Emmanuel Sanders questionable. Gabriel Davis, Stefon Diggs, and Dawson Knox will be heavily leaned on versus the Patriots’ No. 5 defense.
If the Bills couldn’t stop the Patriots’ running game in a match where they knew it was coming, what makes us think they’re going to stop it when Jones might be asked to throw more than three times? With no change to personnel for the Bills, we doubt Belichick deviates from Week 13’s game plan. We’re following the sharp money here.
Prediction: Patriots -2.5 (-110)
This total opened at 44.5 and was hit quickly as it dropped below the key total number of 44 to 43.5. The last meeting closed at 40 after opening at 46.5. The Week 13 meeting also saw some of the worst weather conditions any team has navigated all year, but with this new total sitting just below 44 and the previous meeting opening at 46.5, are there enough indicators that warrant a three-point total drop?
First, let’s look at the weather. Gillette Stadium is expected to see temperatures in the low-40s and winds of just under 10 mph, which shouldn’t affect anything.
Both meetings last year (no Mac Jones) saw 45 or more points scored as Allen and the Bills put up 38 in New England in Week 16.
The Bills and Panthers had a closing total of 43.5 last week and it’s safe to assume that the New England offense is much better than Cam Newton and a kicker-less Panthers team. That game finished with 45 total points and included Carolina going 1 for 4 on fourth down, which is usually an Over killer.
Looking at penalties, the Bills lead the league in defensive holding infractions. Without Tre’Davious White and possibly starting corner Dane Jackson, it won’t help Buffalo if New England lulls the Bills with the running game and counters with some play-action shots. Buffalo also sits in the Top 10 in false starts and offensive holdings, which should help stop the clock and force the Bills to hit some deeper routes.
The losses of Sanders and Beasley aren’t deal-breakers here, either as Gabriel Davis has emerged as a deep-ball threat with five catches over 20 yards in the last four games.
Both defenses sit in the Bottom 10 in explosive runs allowed while New England sits 4th and Buffalo 7th in average explosive run rate offensively. The Patriots offense, surprisingly, also leads the league in average explosive pass rate.
It’s the Over for us.
Prediction: Over 43.5 (-110)
Don't overcomplicate things. The Bills knew the Patriots were going to run the ball and couldn’t stop them in Week 13. Not much has changed since then and we doubt the Bills will suddenly dominate the line of scrimmage on Sunday after their track record proves otherwise.
Good running teams have beat up the Bills this year and with smart money hitting the Patriots earlier in the week, we’re jumping on the coattails of the smartest people in the betting world. Sharp money smashed this spread in the first meeting and seems to be comfortable doing it again in Week 16. We’re along for the ride.
Pick: Patriots -2.5 (-110)