Week 13 of the National Football League kicks off with the New England Patriots (6-5, 3-2 home) hosting the Buffalo Bills (8-3, 4-2 away) on Thursday night in an AFC East contest. The matchup will be the first of two between the two division foes as they will meet again to conclude the regular season in January.
The start time for Thursday’s action is at 8:15 p.m. EST inside Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Buffalo is a 3.5-point betting favorite, while the over/under total is 43.5 points.
What to Know – Buffalo Bills
Buffalo dropped a pair of games by three points apiece to begin the month but bounced back with back-to-back victories to close November out. The Bills are even with the Miami Dolphins atop the division and are closing in on their fourth-consecutive postseason berth.
Josh Allen is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, and while he might not be 100% healthy, he has been using both his arm and legs to lead the Bills’ offense. Allen is second in the league with 3,183 passing yards and leads the team on the ground with 561 yards. The 26-year-old has thrown for 26 touchdowns and added eight rushing.
Devin Singletary continues to operate as the starting running back, but rookie James Cook is starting to see more playing time. Singletary is right behind Allen with 552 yards rushing and three scores, and Cook has carried for 259 yards and one TD.
Allen’s favorite target for the past two seasons has been Stefon Diggs. The All-Pro wide receiver is a matchup nightmare, catching 84 passes for 1,110 yards and nine touchdowns. Gabe Davis has kept in check last week but adds 650 yards and five scores at receiver.
What to Know – New England Patriots
The Patriots would like to head into Week 14 with a 7-5 record over a 6-6 mark, and to do that, they’ll need to defend their home field against Buffalo. New England fell to the Minnesota Vikings on Thanksgiving but had won three straight prior to the defeat.
Mac Jones isn’t having the type of season anyone within the Patriots’ organization would like to see, but the second-year player is coming off his best game of the season. Jones torched the Vikings’ secondary, throwing for a season-high 382 yards and his first multi-passing touchdown game of the year.
Damien Harris is injured again and out for the foreseeable future, so Rhamondre Stevenson now carries the majority of the rushing workload. Stevenson is a formidable backup and already sees extensive playing time, rushing for 680 yards and four touchdowns.
Leading wide receiver Jakobi Meyers is questionable for Thursday’s contests, and if he can’t go, expect to see more of DeVante Parker, tight end Hunter Henry and Nelson Agholor out wide.
The Pick is In
The Thursday night contests haven’t been the best this season, but this one should bring some excitement. Two teams with postseason aspirations in a divisional rivalry will provide a compelling storyline.
New England’s stout defense will be tested this week against Buffalo, but the Patriots’ offense flashed signs of life last Thursday. Buffalo wins this one but only by a field goal.
The Pick: New England Patriots +3.5