Another week of Monday Night Football, another division rivalry goes head to head as the Buffalo Bills take a trip to Foxborough, MA to play the undefeated New England Patriots. Despite the point spread favoring the Patriots at -7.0 to win, it may be more difficult with the loss of receiver Julian Edelman due injury. Is it possible that Rex Ryan could hand the Patriots their first loss?
Monday Night Football: New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills
Point Spread: Patriots -7 Over/under: 48 Date: Monday, November 23, 8:30pm ET Location:Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA
The Patriots are a thorn in the side of Bills’ head coach Rex Ryan, back to his days as the Jets head coach. Now with a more capable offense, they could give the Patriots’ 14th ranked defense all they can handle. The return of Sammy Watkins has proved to be the boost an inconsistent Bills offense has needed. With Watkins as a deep threat, the running game has taken off. LeSean McCoy could see quite a few carries against the no. 2 ranked rushing defense in New England.
Once boasting a ferocious defensive line, they’ve managed just 14 sacks this season. If they plan on knocking the Patriots off of their game, they’ll need to find a way to put pressure on Tom Brady. With Edelman out, the +7 underdog Bills secondary can focus more on getting the right match-ups against tight end Rob Gronkowski, who’s leading the Patriots in receiving yards. Buffalo has fared much better against the run, allowing just 97 yards per game and need to be ready to run-stuff if the Patriots’ offense flounders without Edelman.
New England Patriots
While they aren’t lighting up the league on defense, they do more than enough to give their offense opportunities to win. They’ll face an effective passer in Tyrod Taylor who’s accurate on deep passes, but has also rushed for almost 250 yards on the season. Playing contain on Taylor will go a long ways to stalling the Bills offense, while also making it hard for McCoy to get anything going. New England’s secondary has been a bit suspect and will need to play tight coverage against Buffalo’s talented pass-catchers.
This game will be a good barometer as to Edelman’s value to New England. Without him in the line up, the short, timing routes the Patriots like to run may not operate as smoothly. With head coach Bill Belichick a master at adjusting his scheme to his players, it’s likely we’ll see a very different look geared more towards stretching the field with Gronkowski. The rest of the Patriots’ receivers will need to step up to make up for their loss. If they can get open, Brady will find them.
Monday Night Football Prediction