Patriots v Bills Predictions: Recent dominance can continue in AFC East rivalry

Tom Collins

30 November 2022

Thursday Night Football games this season have been pretty underwhelming, but an AFC East showdown between the Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots provides me with plenty of optimism.

Very few people predicted that all four teams in the AFC East would boast a positive record entering week 13. The Buffalo Bills were ante-post favourites for Super Bowl LVII, so they were expected to top the table at this stage, but the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots and New York Jets have all overperformed by differing margins.

With just six games remaining in the 2022 regular season, which includes three divisional matches for each team, victories have become even more important than they initially were. If you want to make the playoffs from the AFC East, now is the time to come up clutch. To quote Scott Hanson from NFL Redzone: we have entered the Witching Hour.

No Brady? Bills dominance

New England boasts a strangehold on the head-to-head record against the Buffalo Bills. The Patriots have won 77 of the 125 games since the series debuted in the AFL back in 1960, largely thanks to Tom Brady’s dominance (32 wins, three losses) against his divisional rival. 

But since Brady moved onto pastures new in Tampa, the Bills have reversed that trend by winning four of the last five encounters. The most recent contest between the two sides came in the AFC Wildcard Playoff game in January, when Buffalo put up the perfect game (no turnovers, kicks or punts) to win 47-17 and progress into the next round.

The Patriots have lacked a cutting edge and serious offensive production without Brady, despite Mac Jones (and briefly Bailey Zappe) playing to a reasonably high level. They lack talent at receiver, something that can’t be said for Buffalo with Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis in their arsenal, and have had to rely on their defence to come up trumps. That group didn’t muster their best performance when they last played the Bills, though.

Giveaways and takeaways

There are reasons for hope, Patriots fans. New England’s defence has played lights out, despite minor hitches against NFC North teams (they lost to the Packers, Bears and Vikings earlier this season). The unstoppable Matthew Judon leads the league in sacks with 13, while the run defence has held up strong and allowed just 109.3 yards per game.

New England has also allowed just 18 points per game to opposing offences, which is interestingly the exact same number given up by Buffalo this season. And, as good as the Patriots run defence is, the Bills have actually allowed fewer yards (105.6) per game. 

Both of these sides have a +1 turnover differential, which has helped them achieve their respective positive records. But that isn’t because they are playing safe and consistent football. In fact, the Buffalo Bills have 19 giveaways on the year, while the New England Patriots have totalled 17 - the third and fourth-most in the league respectively. It just so happens that their aforementioned defences can get them out of trouble.


A good case can be made for backing under 43.5 total points (1.91), especially as the weather forecast suggests it will be an extremely cold night. But, even if this becomes a defensive battle, I would still want to take the Buffalo Bills -5 on the spread. Their recent dominance in this rivalry shouldn’t be overlooked and their high-powered offence remains capable of scoring on every drive.

I also want to back Dawson Knox in the anytime touchdown scorer market. Buffalo’s tight end recorded five catches for 89 yards and two touchdowns in their playoff win over the Patriots, who remain weak at covering seam routes. Expect Knox to come up trumps in the endzone.

Patriots v Bills Predictions

Buffalo Bills -5 @ 1.91
Dawson Knox anytime touchdown @ 3.3

Tom Collins

30 November 2022

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