Buffalo Bills (5-4) at New England Patriots (9-0)
Ordinarily, I would be all over the Patriots here. They should be favored by more than 7.5 points at home against the Bills, as they rank 2nd in rate of moving the chains differential, while the Bills rank 21st. They’re also in a great spot, as they will be favored by 5.5 points (according to the early line) in Denver next week. Teams are 71-49 ATS before being road favorites of 4+, 43-29 ATS before being road favorites of 6+, and 29-13 ATS before being road favorites of 7+, since 2012.
However, the Patriots are so banged up that it’s hard to trust them. A week after losing running back Dion Lewis for the season with a torn ACL, the Patriots lost wide receiver Julian Edelman for likely the rest of the regular season with a broken foot last week. Those guys are such a big part of their offense that they’re almost certainly going to struggle to move the ball as well as they have thus far this season. Danny Amendola should be able to play decently in a larger role in Edelman’s absence, but he won’t be able to nearly replace both Edelman and Lewis by himself.
They obviously still have Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, but they need a 2nd and 3rd option to step up in the passing game. They get offensive tackles Sebastian Vollmer and Marcus Cannon back from injury this week, but they’re still missing left tackle Nate Solder for the year. And, on the defensive side, top linebacker Jamie Collins is out for the 3rd straight game. I’m still taking New England, but I can’t bring myself to put any money on them unless the line goes under a touchdown.
New England Patriots 30 Buffalo Bills 17
Pick against the spread: New England -7.5