Thursday Night Football is back with an AFC East showdown between two bitter rivals as the Bills (8-3) travel to the frosty winds of Foxborough to face the Patriots (6-5). Betting lines favor the visiting Bills by 3.5 points with the projected Over/Under scoring total set at 43.5.
The Bills have won two straight, coming fresh off the heels of a narrow 28-25 victory over the Lions. The Bills’ offense is amongst the most potent in the NFL. They average 426.8 yards of total offense (2nd) with 279.2 passing yards (3rd) and 136.7 rushing yards (8th). Josh Allen and company have virtually lived in the end zone all season, tallying 28.1 PPG. Costly injuries on the defensive side of the football have caused a top-tier unit to regress to the league average. The Bills’ defense allows 345.3 scrimmage yards (13th), 221.6 passing yards (19th), 105.6 rushing yards (7th), and 18.1 PPG (5th) on average to opposing offenses.
The Patriots are home team underdogs, giving up 3.5 points to the traveling Bills. The Patriots’ offense has been subpar this season, averaging 344.1 scrimmage yards (23rd) and 21.7 PPG (18th). One would assume that the team has succeeded via a stout run game and clever game management but the team posts a mere 109.0 rushing yards (23rd) and just 216.9 passing yards (19th) per contest. The Patriots’ defense, on the other hand, is the sole reason for the team’s six wins. The team ranks within the top 10 of every defensive category, conceding 328.8 scrimmage yards (7th), 198.5 passing yards (9th), 109.3 rushing yards (9th), and 18.4 points per game (6th).
The Bills’ offense is looking to string together a consistent win streak, allowing them to topple the Dolphins as the leaders of the AFC East. The Patriots’ defense will have to rise to the occasion against Josh Allen’s high-potent scoring squad. Although the Patriots have been impressive defensively, they will need to level up if they hope to stymie the passing production of an uber-confident Bills roster. It is worth noting that both teams are entering the Thursday Night showdown with extended rest, as they both played last Thursday in the NFL’s Thanksgiving Day Classic.
KEYS TO VICTORY
- High Powered Offense
- Control Clock and Mitigate Turnovers
New England Patriots
- Force Mistakes and Create Turnovers
- Keep Josh Allen Off the Field
New England Patriots Injury Report
Moneyline: Buffalo Bills
Scoring Prediction: Bills 28 – Patriots 16
Over/Under: Over 43.5
Now that we have introduced the matchup let’s dive into some high-upside player props for this AFC East divisional clash.
RHAMONDRE STEVENSON OVER 37.5 REC YDS
Betting Odds: -110
Rhamondre Stevenson has received six or more targets in five consecutive games. He is averaging 4.5 receptions and 32.6 receiving yards per game this season but could easily surpass those numbers with the Patriots facing a negative game script that suggests increased passing volume while playing from behind. Stevenson is not only the Patriots leading rusher, but he is also their number two receiver alongside Jakobi Meyers. Stevenson ranks first on the team in receptions (50), second in receiving yards (359), and second in targets (59). The Bills’ defense is stout against the rushing attack of opposing offenses but allows an expected increase in receiving production of 24.9% to running backs on average.
STEFON DIGGS OVER 81.5 RECEIVING YARDS
Betting Odds: -110
The mere prospect of facing a Bill Belichick defense has scared betting lines into setting Stefon Diggs’ over/under receiving totals at 19.5 yards below his weekly average. Diggs is posting 7.6 REC, 10.7 TGT, and 101.0 yards per game this season but has notably fallen below 80 receiving yards in back-to-back contests against two exploitable defenses (Browns, Lions). Diggs now draws the coverage assignment of Jonathan Jones who boasts a top-15 ranked cover rating per PFF. The Patriots’ defense excels at shutting down the opposing offense’s top weapon whether they win or lose. They are allowing a negative differential of -4.1% in expected production to the position, ranked 22nd amongst all teams this season.
JAKOBI MEYERS OVER 4.5 RECEPTIONS
Betting Odds: +110
Jakobi Meyers is a volume-correlated bet with assumptions that the Patriots will have to play from behind against the league’s most potent offense. Meyers enters Week 13 with a shoulder injury, adding some risk to the play, hence the positive odds. However, the Patriots receiver is earning a 22.8% target share this season, with a target rate of 26.9%. Meyers averages 5.2 receptions per game and faces a positive game script for his production against a secondary that has played well below their potential all season.
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