BOSTON (CBS) — Here we go. A meaningful Patriots-Bills matchup in December.
Yes, you read that correctly. The Bills, at 10-4, currently sit just a game behind the Patriots in the AFC East. The Pats clinch the division with a win on Saturday, and then could clinch a first-round bye if the Chiefs lose to the Bears on Sunday.
But if the Pats lose and the Chiefs win, then New England’s first-round bye is in serious jeopardy. It would even give the Bills an outside shot to steal the division in Week 17. So Saturday’s game is a gigantic one for New England.
The last time these two teams met up, the Patriots escaped with a 16-10 win in Orchard Park in Week 4. Saturday’s tilt should be just as close and carry a real playoff feel. Here’s how the WBZ-TV and CBS Boston sports team sees the game playing out:
Steve Burton, WBZ-TV Sports
The Patriots beat the Bills 16-10 back in September. Fittingly, the Pats are favored by 6.5 points on Saturday.
But don’t fool yourself; the Bills have gotten better. But they do turn the ball over, and there is no team better at creating turnovers than the Patriots. The Pats have 24 picks in 14 games, led by Stephon Gilmore’s six picks. Devin McCourty and J.C. Jackson both have five to their name.
It’s the New England offense that hasn’t clicked yet, and they know it. But can they fix it? Time will tell. The good news is with the AFC East title on the line, the Pats are at Gillette, where they’ve lost just one game all year.
Patriots 24, Bills 17
Dan Roche, WBZ-TV Sports
I think is going to be an ugly battle as two very good defenses go toe to toe! The Pats offense showed some positive signs last week at Cincy (N’Keal Harry, 175 rushing yards), but the Bills defense is a whole different animal. But the Pats at home are tough to beat.
Patriots 20, Bills 17
Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
I think we all understand that the days of relentlessly mocking the Buffalo Bills are over. Or, at least, they’re on hold. That defense is straight up nasty, and they kind of manhandled the Patriots during their Week 4 meeting in Buffalo. Traditionally a cakewalk for the Patriots, this home date vs. Buffalo will be no cinch.
But for as potent as the Buffalo defense is … the Buffalo offense is just not good. Josh Allen is an inaccurate passer, and he has proven to be eager to throw the football to members of the Patriots during his young career. In seven quarters against the Patriots, Allen has thrown five interceptions. He has one garbage time touchdown.
Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense is far from dominant right now, but they’re still better than Buffalo’s unit. Throw in the Buffalo-visiting-Foxboro factor, and the Patriots will do enough to win the game. Even if it won’t be pretty.
Patriots 10, Bills 6
Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
This one isn’t going to be pretty, but it’s going to be an absolute battle. Both defenses are going to kick the tar out of the opposing offenses, and it’ll come down to which team makes the fewest mistakes. On that front, I like the team that doesn’t have Josh Allen as their quarterback.
Patriots 20, Bills 13
Tune in to Patriots-Bills on WBZ-TV — the flagship station of the New England Patriots. Pregame coverage begins at 3:30pm with Patriots GameDay, kickoff is slated for 4:30pm, and after the game, stay tuned for all the reaction and analysis on Patriots 5th Quarter!