The Buffalo Bills are set to face the host New England Patriots on Thursday Night Football in the first of two games between the AFC East rivals down the stretch in the 2022 NFL season.
This will be Buffalo’s third game away from home in a 12-game span. No other team faces such a scenario this season.
Unlike last year’s meeting in the wild-card round in Buffalo, the weather is going to be relatively balmy, with the forecast calling for a temperature of 36 degrees at kickoff with the wind at 10 mph. In that playoff meeting, the temp was 7 with a wind chill of -5. That was the coldest game in the league in the past six years.
Anyway, the Bills (8-3 straight up/5-5-1 against the spread), who enter Week 13 of the season tied with Miami for the top spot in the division, are favored for the 12th time this season. But this spread is the smallest since they were a 2.5-point choice in Kansas City seven weeks ago, winning 24-20.
The Patriots (6-5 SU/6-4-1 ATS) are last in the division but only a game out in the wild-card race behind the NY Jets and Cincinnati. But New England also has the sixth-stiffest remaining strength of schedule according to Tankathon.
Let’s take a look at our Bills vs. Patriots odds on Thursday Night Football, as well as a prediction.
TNF Odds: Point Spread, Moneyline, Total
Here are Thursday Night Football odds from around the sports betting marketplace.
Bills-Patriots AFC East Rivalry on TNF
Both teams are coming off games on Thanksgiving and therefore aren’t subject to a short work week like most Thursday night squads.
Buffalo, led by QB Josh Allen, won last week’s Turkey Day opener in Detroit with two seconds left on a 45-yard field goal by Tyler Bass that gave the Bills a 28-25 victory. That kick came after the Lions had tied it on a FG with 23 seconds remaining. The Bills also benefited from a missed 29-yard try by Detroit in the third quarter, one of six failed FG attempts by Buffalo foes this year, tied for third-most in the league.
In Minnesota, New England’s three-game winning streak was snapped in a 33-26 loss to the Vikings. Patriots RB Damien Harris, the team’s leading rusher the previous two seasons and who’s averaging 4.6 a carry this year, suffered a thigh injury in that game and isn’t expected to play vs. Buffalo. Rhamondre Stevenson, the team’s leading rusher in 2022, will be expected to carry the load.
Also read: TNF props and TD scorer bets
Last season, the teams met three times, including the wild-card game won by the Bills, 47-17, which was the worst postseason defeat in coach Bill Belichick’s 23-year tenure as Patriots sideline boss. The Bills never punted and scored TDs on all seven of their possessions (excluding their kneel-down series to end the game). Allen’s passer rating of 157.1 was the best by anyone in the past two seasons. He had five TD throws and no INTs.
Three weeks earlier in another meeting, Buffalo didn’t punt then either in a 33-21 victory in New England.
In Week 13, though, it was all about New England, which won 14-10 in frosty conditions and with wind gusts reaching 40 mph. Thus, the Patriots kept the ball on the ground, throwing only three passes but rushing 43 times for 222 yards. By contrast, last week, they had season lows of 13 rushes for 45 yards.
This week, both teams have key players dealing with injuries.
For Buffalo, star linebacker Von Miller (eight sacks) has been diagnosed with a lateral meniscus tear and is out. He was hurt early vs. Detroit. Also, center Mitch Morse has elbow/ankle issues but was a full participant in drills Monday. There also were reports that five Bills players were absent from practice Monday because of illness. But no top-flight members were listed. It’s worth keeping an eye out whether any other Bills get sick.
For New England, in addition to Harris being out, there’s the thigh injury to center David Andrews. The Patriots are hopeful he will return to action after suffering a thigh injury two weeks ago. He sat out the game against Minnesota.
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Bills vs. Patriots TNF Prediction
It’s not like the Bills don’t have their warts, such as Allen being tied for the league lead with 11 INTs, including three from the enemy 10 or closer.
One aspect of their game that has improved of late has been their rush defense. In Games 7-9, Buffalo yielded 176.3 ground yards a game (5.9 a carry) while losing twice. In their past two outings, against Cleveland’s fifth-ranked ground attack and Detroit’s No. 10 unit, the opposition has averaged 88 yards a game and 3.3 a carry.
Two Bills who have missed time with injuries were back at practice this week, DE Greg Rousseau (five sacks) and safety Jordan Poyer.
Now comes New England and its 23rd-ranked attack — minus Harris.
In addition, the Bills have a significant edge at QB with Allen over second-year man Mac Jones of NE, who briefly was beaten out by third-string rookie Bailey Zappe early in the season.
Plus, Buffalo has a stout running game that’s 5.3 a carry, second-best in the league.
Prediction: Bills 27, Patriots 17