Sunday football, week 16 - Bills @ Patriots

Time: 1:00 PM ET, Dec. 26, 2021
Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass.
Current Line: NE -2.5 Total: 43.5


Sunday’s game should be a tight one. Another low-scoring, defensive battle where the difference will be Josh Allen. That’s why we’ll back the Buffalo Bills +2.5.

Back the Bills +2.5

Sunday’s matchup between the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots could ultimately decide which team wins the AFC East Division and which team earns a wild card or goes home. Buffalo, now 8-6, trails the Patriots (9-5) by a game. A Buffalo victory forces a tie and makes for a very exciting Weeks 17 and 18.

A Buffalo loss doesn’t immediately eliminate the Bills from the postseason, but it would make it more difficult. Currently, the Bills hold one of three AFC wild cards. If the season ended today, the Bills would own the seventh and final playoff spot in the AFC. The Colts and Chargers, also 8-6, would earn the other two. Baltimore, also 8-6, and Pittsburgh (7-6-1) are in the eighth and ninth spots, respectively.

The Bills would love nothing more than to repay New England for a loss to the Patriots just a few weeks ago. The Patriots won in Buffalo on Dec. 6 as the two teams battled the elements in a 14-10 New England win. The Patriots defense held Buffalo QB Josh Allen to a season-low 145 passing yards.

Sunday’s game could very well turn into another defensive battle. These are two of the best defenses in the entire NFL. New England leads the league in scoring defense giving up an average of 16.4 points per game. Buffalo is second at 17.2.

Buffalo’s defense came through last week in a 31-14 win over Carolina. The Bills recorded four sacks and held the Panthers to just 275 yards of total offense. Buffalo will need to put that kind of pressure on New England quarterback Mac Jones. The Patriots rookie has performed well though he did throw to costly interceptions in last week’s loss to Indianapolis.

The Patriots had won seven straight games before losing 27-17 to the Colts last week. The New England defense allowed the NFL’s leading rusher Jonathan Taylor to rush for 170 yards on 29 carries. That proved to be the difference in the Colts victory. It might also give the Buffalo running game some hope.

For a few weeks, the Bills haven’t generated much on the ground except for Allen. Last week, running back Devin Singletary ran for 86 yards in the win over Carolina. If Singletary can have some of that success this week, that will be an added bonus to Allen and the rest of the Bills offense.

On the other end, New England will be without RB Damien Harris leaving the bulk of the rushing duties to Rhamondre Stevenson. He had just 36 yards on 10 carries against the Colts last week. Buffalo’s run defense is solid. They rank right in the middle of the pack allowing 112 yards per game. The Bills pass defense is No. 1 in the NFL. If they can get after Jones, there’s no question Buffalo can have success on Sunday.

Buffalo’s success this Sunday really comes down to one thing – Josh Allen. This is a unique position where Allen is undervalued. The Patriots are favored by 2.5 points at home. That makes sense, but the market historically undervalues Allen in a few situations. One is on the road.

In regular season away games, Allen is 17-8-2 ATS in his career thus far. He is also undervalued as an underdog. In games where Allen and the Bills are underdogs, the Bills QB is 15-7-2 ATS. When we combine the two, we really see the value on Allen. As a road underdog in his career, Allen is 9-3-2 ATS. In those 14 games, Allen has outperformed the spread by an average margin of +6.3 points.

In 2021, road underdogs are 53-79-1 (39.8 percent) straight up. That’s almost four of every ten road dogs pulling off the upset. What’s really interesting though is how well road underdogs fare against the point spread. In 132 games, the road underdog is 74-56-2 ATS. That’s a winning percentage of nearly 57 percent. In almost six of every ten instances, the road underdog covers the spread.

Sunday’s game should be a tight one. Another low-scoring, defensive battle where the difference will be Josh Allen. That’s why we’ll back the Buffalo Bills +2.5.

Back the Bills +2.5

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Ravens @ Bengals
Chargers @ Texans
Bills @ Patriots
Jaguars @ Jets

4:25PM ET
Steelers @ Chiefs
Broncos @ Raiders

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Full  schedule for week 15 here can be found here!