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Patriots vs. Bills: 3 keys to the game, fun facts, prediction

Ryan Hannable
October 29, 2018 - 3:53 pm
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For the first time in 10 years, the Bills will host a game on Monday night.

Add in the fact the Patriots are the team traveling to Buffalo, it should make for an outstanding football atmosphere. Unfortunately, the play on the field likely won’t match it. The Patriots come in 5-2 and winners of four straight, while the Bills are 2-5 and have dropped two straight games.

New England has dominated the series, as in the Bill Belichick era it has won 31 of the 36 meetings.

Patriots vs. Bills
Monday, October 29, 2018
8:20 p.m., ESPN
Patriots -14, over/under 44.5

3 keys to the game

Take crowd out of it

As mentioned, it will be a tremendous atmosphere with tailgating for the game that began over the weekend. Over the years the crowd has been into it from the start, but quickly taken out of it because the Patriots getting off to a good start and are usually leading by double digits sometimes before the end of the first quarter. This is what the Patriots need to have happen again. One of the only hopes the Bills have is getting off to a fast start and having the crowd impact Tom Brady and the Patriots offense.

Don’t let Bills offense get going

The Buffalo offense has been a joke in recent weeks. It hasn’t scored more than 13 points in its last four games and has been held to five points or less in two of them (they were shutout by the Packers on Sept. 30 and only had five points against the Colts last week). Veteran Derek Anderson will get the start with rookie Josh Allen out once again with an elbow injury. This could be a big confidence boosting game for the Patriots defense, especially going into another tough matchup against the Packers last week, or it could be a major wakeup call if the Bills are able to move the ball on them. 

Keep offensive momentum going

The Patriots have been on a roll offensively, scoring 38 or more points in four straight games. It will be tested a bit with the absence of running back Sony Michel, but it didn’t seem to be a major issue last week in Chicago. Without Michel, expect Brady to spread the field and pick apart the Bills secondary. Rob Gronkowski, who seems likely to play after missing last week, typically has monster homecoming games (he grew up just outside Buffalo).

Fun facts

1. If the Patriots score 21 or more points in the first half, it will be a new franchise record by scoring 21 or more points in five straight games.

2. With a win, Brady will have 15 wins all-time in Buffalo, becoming the third-most winningest quarterback in New Era Field/Ralph Wilson Stadium history. Jim Kelly has 59 wins, while Ralph Ferguson has 46. Tyrod Taylor and Brady each have 14 right now.

3. Since 2001, the Patriots are 140-12 when winning the turnover battle. 

4. Malcom Brown is having a sneaky good season. When he’s on the field the Patriots are allowing just 3.64 yards per rushing play, but when he’s not they are allowing 4.61 yards per play. Lawrence Guy also has similar splits.

5. The Patriots are averaging just over a yard more per passing play with Julian Edelman on the field this season. When he’s on the field, they average 8.44 yards per play and 7.08 when he’s not.

Prediction 

Patriots 34, Bills 13

The Bills are really struggling and this has the potential to get ugly in a hurry. Typically, this could be viewed as a trap game with the Patriots hosting the Packers on Sunday night next week, but Belichick usually doesn’t allow this to happen with his teams. We expect the Patriots to roll.

Related: Sunday 7: Jonathan Jones explains viral video of 3-year-old daughter

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