BOSTON (CBS) — This is a big one for the Patriots. And it is equally as big for the Buffalo Bills.
New England is 2-5 after three straight losses and in desperate need of a win to stay afloat in the division and the playoff race. The Bills are 5-2 and atop the AFC East, but they had to sweat things out against the Jets last weekend to snap a two-game skid. If they want to prove that they’re the new favorites for the AFC East crown, then they’re going to have to beat the Patriots.
That’s not something they’ve done recently, dropping each of the last seven meetings between the two teams. Of course, there was a guy named Tom Brady quarterbacking the Patriots for those seven contests, and things are a little different with Cam Newton now running the New England offense. So if the Bills really are legit this season, they shouldn’t have many issues with the Patriots this weekend.
Then again, they are the Bills.
How does the WBZ-TV/CBS Boston sports team feel heading into this one? The gang is split in what is a make-or-break game for the New England Patriots:
Steve Burton, WBZ-TV Sports
We all know that the Bills are in first place in the AFC East at 5-2. But do you really trust Buffalo?
They are beatable. But can the Patriots beat them without Julian Edelman, who just had knee surgery and will be out for Sunday’s game?
The Patriots are 3.5 underdogs and on a three-game losing streak. That’s the negative. The positive? They’ve won seven straight against Buffalo.
Bills 28, Patriots 14
Dan Roche, WBZ-TV Sports
It’s been difficult to predict what kind of performance we’re going to see from this Patriots team. With the NFL trade deadline looming, this group has a chance to prove that they can turn this around. They’ll be facing a tough team in tough elements, but they simply need to grind out a win any way they can.
Patriots 21, Bills 20
Levan Reid, WBZ-TV Sports
We’re used to talking about two teams heading in different directions when we discuss a Patriots-Bills matchup, but it was never the Patriots heading down the wrong road. That is the case now.
The Patriots are still looking for an identity on the offensive side of the ball. The news that Julian Edelman will miss a couple of games after a knee procedure will not help.
The Pats and the Bills are at a crossroads. New England needs a win to stay in some sort of hunt and Buffalo needs to beat the Pats and take their right place at the top of this division.
Folks, this was bound to happen. The little brother Buffalo Bills have been on the up and up for awhile now and this is their time. They have a great defense, a good young QB and an explosive wide receiver who makes game-changing plays.
The Pats will look better than they have in the past weeks, but that won’t be good enough to beat the Bills.
Bills 30, Patriots 17
Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
The Pats are down and out, but I think they’ve got too much pride (and experience and talent and brainpower) to let it spiral any further. The Bills have been dealing with their own problems lately, and the Patriots absolutely catch a break with an empty stadium instead of 70,000 psychos from the greater Buffalo area screaming their heads off.
A tough one but a good one.
Patriots 13, Bills 10
Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
IF the Patriots can get it going on the ground, and IF Cam Newton looks like a halfway decent quarterback for the first time in a month, then I think the Patriots can pull off an …. wait for it …. upset win over the Bills. That feels so weird to say.
But all of that is very iffy, especially since Newton won’t have Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry. So the Bills will be expecting a run-heavy attack. Buffalo has a terrible run defense, but the Patriots may not have enough on offense overall to make a difference.
I liked the Patriots to pull this one out before the Edelman news broke Thursday. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Bills lose, because they always find a way to lose against the Patriots, but I don’t think the Pats have enough to pull it out.
Bills 20, Patriots 13
Tune in to Sunday’s Patriots-Bills matchup on WBZ-TV! Pregame coverage begins at 11:30 a.m. with Patriots GameDay, kickoff is set for 1 p.m., and after the game stay tuned for full reaction and analysis on Patriots 5th Quarter!