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‘Thursday Night Football’ picks and open thread: Bills at Patriots

A TNF game worth watching!

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

Thursday Night Football is here! DraftKings Sportsbook has the Buffalo Bills opening as 4-point favorites on the road against division rivals the New England Patriots. This part should come as no major surprise, given that the Bills are 8-3 and all three of their losses have been at the hands of teams who currently have winning records. The Patriots may be 6-5, but they have a couple bad losses on their resume (see: Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears). Both the Bills and Pats lost to the Minnesota Vikings and Miami Dolphins, who are both looking like locks to make the playoffs at this point. The Patriots did sweep the 7-4 New York Jets, whereas the Bills lost their first matchup with Robert Saleh’s over-performing squad.

Interestingly enough, Bills head coach Sean McDermott has had mixed success against the Patriots, but his fortunes seem to be trending up; after literally never beating Tom Brady as a head coach (and I mean never), Buffalo has gone 3-1 against New England since 2020, according to StatHead. Their only loss in this series was at home during a windstorm game in which Mac Jones threw three passes and “led” his team to a 14-10 victory. Now, I don’t want to alarm any Bills fans around here, but the weather in Boston is looking kind of similar — winds up to 30mph, which should settle down a bit into the evening, though it will remain gusty into the night.

Another resemblance to this last game is that the Bills were coming off a hot start to the season — starting out 4-0 — before going 3-5 over their next eight games. The drop off hasn’t been as dramatic this season, to be sure; after starting 6-1, they have been 2-2 over the last four games and are hoping to regain some footing in a hyper competitive AFC East that features four teams with winning records. The Patriots, on the other hand, are looking up at the rest of the division right now; QB Mac Jones has been having a rough go of it, and the team has largely succeeded on the strength of their defense, which is ranked 1st in Football Outsiders’ weighted DVOA. The Bills rank 4th in the same metric though, and they are definitely the more complete team right now. I think that the Bills pull this one out, but New England will keep it close until the end.

The Pick: Under 43.5 points, Bills win straight up but Patriots cover the spread.