Patriots To Ease Past Bills On Home Soil

Gronkowski has been unstopable

The New England Patriots secured a dramatic win over the Pittsburgh Steelers last week to reclaim their position at the top of the AFC Conference. Jesse James saw a touchdown chalked off for a failing to control his catch in the dying seconds before Ben Roethlisberger was intercepted by Duron Harmon in the endzone.

Tom Brady had previously led the Patriots to a late scoring drive, using the brilliance of Rob Gronkowski to manoeuvre his side into position. Dion Lewis scored the decisive touchdown before Gronkowski added a crucial two-point conversion.

The Steelers drove the length of the field following a surge from Juju Smith-Schuster for 69 yards. However, after James’ touchdown was disallowed, Pittsburgh spurned the opportunity to extend the game into overtime. Roethlisberger opted for a fake spike to pass to Eli Rogers, only for Eric Rowe to divert the ball into the hands of Harmon to snatch the win.

New England will now have home-field advantage in the playoffs if they are able to win their remaining two matches of the season starting with the Bills. Buffalo defeated the Miami Dolphins last week to keep themselves in contention for the playoffs for the first time since the 1999 season.

Buffalo have recorded wins twice at Gillette Stadium in the past three seasons. However, their victory last term came in the absence of Tom Brady, while the previous triumph in the 2014 season was when the Patriots rested several key starters, including Brady for the majority of the contest.

Sean McDermott’s men were well beaten by New England in their meet at New Era Stadium. They will have to improve to keep themselves in the playoff places. We’ll now break down the contest using the latest betting odds.

New England Patriots

Gronkowski has been unstopable

The Patriots’ resilience was on full display against the Steelers. They did have fortune on their side – not only with the James touchdown reveral, but also with an injury to All-Pro Antonio Brown. As a result, Pittburgh’s receiving options were depleted in the second half of the contest. However, Brady and Gronkowski put on a clinic towards the end of the game before Lewis put the Patriots ahead. The two-point conversion was just as important, highlighting Gronkowki’s value to Belichick’s men.

The 28-year-old was suspended for their defeat to the Miami Dolphins following his late hit on Tre’Davious White. Gronkowski and White will face off once again on Sunday and there will no doubt be drama between the two players and perhaps the rest of the Bills’ defense. New England cannot afford their star tight end to get involved in another altercation that could rule him out of a playoff match down the stretch. He has recorded 315 receiving yards in his last two matches, 168 alone against the Steelers. With Brady feeling the effects of an Achilles’ injury, Gronkowski is more vital than ever for the Patriots’ quest to win back-to-back Super Bowl crowns.

New England’s defense was exposed at times against the Steelers, despite receiving the break of Brown’s first-half injury. Without Kyle van Noy their linebacking corps has been exposed – the 26-year-old has been their most consistent player on defense without the presence of Dont’a Hightower for the majority of the campaign. Their edges have been exposed by teams with good running games and that has to improve moving forward into the playoffs. LeSean McCoy could play a crucial role in the contest and the Patriots have to stop him making an impact.

Buffalo Bills

McCoy needs a fine outing

The Bills’ surge for the post-season looked to have ended in their three-game losing streak in the middle of the season. However, the club have lost just once in their last four matches – albeit to the Patriots – to get back into contention. McDermott’s men hold the sixth seed entering the week, which could put them on the path to play the Jacksonville Jaguars on wildcard weekend.

Buffalo still have to get over the line for the first time in 18 years and it will not be straight forward. There is pressure from the Baltimore Ravens, who have the same record as the club, while the Los Angeles Chargers are also lurking. The Bills are on the road for the final two matches of the term and will have to win at least one of their matches to give themselves an opportunity.

Quarterback Tyrod Taylor made a timely return to form last week. The 28-year-old threw one touchdown without an interception along with a rushing score. The key man for Buffalo remains McCoy. He was outstanding in their win over the Indianapolis Colts in a blizzard, rushing for 156 yards. McCoy had a fine outing against the Patriots in Buffalo, averaging 6.2 yards per carry before the game situation took the ball out of his hands. The Patriots’ defense has been vulnerable to the run and he will have to rise to the occasion to put Belichick’s men away at Gillette Stadium.

White and the defense will have to keep their cool against Gronkowski. The tight end dominated them at New Era Field before his cheap shot on the cornerback. They cannot afford to lose their discipline against the Patriots as the odds are already stacked against them facing Brady on the road.

Betting Options

The Patriots do not drop many matches on home soil and with so much to lose it’s hard to see them losing to the Bills for the third time in four years. Belichick will have his players focused, despite the potential distraction of Christmas the following day and coming down from the high of the Pittsburgh triumph. Buffalo also have a lot to lose and their biggest issue will be keeping their cool against Gronkowski. They have to play the game on their terms as Taylor has proved that he cannot go score-for-score with Brady and emerge with the victory. There are too many battles in the Patriots’ favour for them to lose this match – therefore back them at odds of -556   with BetOnline.

New England will win the contest, but it will not be as comfortable as the line suggests. Take the Buffalo Bills’ points +10.5 points at -104   with 888Sport, with McCoy playing a vital role in keeping the scores close. Brady has not been electric of late as he has been hampered by his injury. The Patriots may not be able to surpass the 30-point mark so back the under for 29.5 points at -117 .

Tips Summary

New England Patriots To Beat Buffalo Bills
Sunday 24th December 2017 13:00 ET (18:00 GMT)
Odds: -556

Take +10.5 Points Buffalo Bills
Sunday 24th December 2017 13:00 ET (18:00 GMT)
Odds: -104

New England Patriots To Score Under 29.5 Points
Sunday 24th December 2017 13:00 ET (18:00 GMT)
Odds: -117