It may not be the sexiest matchup on the Week 4 NFL slate, but it is the only one that features two 3-0 teams. The New England Patriots head to Orchard Park to take on the Buffalo Bills at 1:00 on Sunday, with first place in the AFC East on the line. This is arguably the biggest regular-season game against the Patriots in the last 10 years for the Bills. CBS has taken notice, as they will broadcast this game as their national 1:00 game of the day. Bills Mafia will be breaking plenty of tables for sure.
All of the trends since Tom Brady took over as Patriots quarterback point to New England dominating in this matchup. Brady is 30-3 in his career against Buffalo, including a 15-2 record in Orchard Park. As a visitor to Buffalo, his offense has scored 30 or more points in more than half of the matchups. The Patriots are 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings and are 16-5-1 ATS in their last 22 meetings in Buffalo. This time around, for at least their 2019 matchup, things will be different and Buffalo will break these trends. The Bills will not just cover the spread and add to their ATS mark, they will win the game outright. Here are the three biggest reasons why this time will be different for Buffalo.
Buffalo Bills-New England Patriots: Three Reasons the Bills Will Win
The Bills Have a Franchise Quarterback
Sure, Tom Brady’s 30-3 record against the Bills is awfully impressive. However, many of these wins have come against Tyrod Taylor, EJ Manuel, Kyle Orton, Ryan Fitzpatrick, JP Losman, Trent Edwards, etc. While we are just 15 games into the Josh Allen era, there is an optimism about him and his play that Bills fans haven’t seen since the Drew Bledsoe years, or maybe even further back to Jim Kelly. Allen has only made one start against Tom Brady, a 24-12 loss in Foxborough last year.
However, there is a toughness about him and an ability to block out all outside noise and simply win games. Allen has two fourth-quarter comebacks already this year, overcoming a 16-point deficit to the New York Jets and rallying for a late touchdown drive last week to beat the Cincinnati Bengals. His teammates believe in him, his coaches believe in him, and the city of Buffalo believes in him. Josh Allen is ready to deliver in the biggest start of his career.
The Bills Have a Long-Term Coach
Since Hall of Famer Marv Levy retired in 1997, the Bills have had 10 different head coaches. None of them had a tenure in Buffalo longer than four seasons. Names include Wade Phillips, Gregg Williams, Dick Jauron and Rex Ryan. Most of these names were and continue to be tremendously successful coordinators in the league, but couldn’t cut it as a coach in Buffalo.
Current head coach Sean McDermott is being embraced like no other by the city of Buffalo. He has drafted and signed players that fit the Buffalo mold, and has changed the culture in the locker room. McDermott led the Bills to their first playoff appearance in 18 years when they made the wild-card game in 2017. He looks to have solidified his job for years to come in Buffalo, and can be trusted to install a game plan to slow down the Patriots’ high-powered attack.
The Bills Have a Stifling Defense
In today’s high-scoring NFL where rules tend to favor pass-happy offenses, it is refreshing to see a team playing the “old-school” way, with a punishing running game and ferocious defense. Buffalo has the defensive playmakers to slow down the New England attack. As previously mentioned, Tom Brady has scored 30+ points in half of his visits to Buffalo over his career. However, in Sean McDermott’s tenure, the Patriots have been held to 24 points per game in two visits to Orchard Park. Buffalo ranks fifth in total defense, and in the top nine in both passing and rushing yards allowed per game.
The Bills are allowing just 15.7 points per game through three games so far this year. They have playmakers on every level. Jerry Hughes and Shaq Lawson lead a ferocious pass rush, linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano fly to the ball and are in the top 50 in the league in tackles, Tre’Davious White is one of the leagues best shut-down corners who is tied for second with two interceptions, and Jordan Poyer mans the defense from the safety position. Oddsmakers have set this over/under at 42 (odds courtesy of FanDuel) which is the third-lowest total of the week. Even Vegas expects the Bills to be able to slow down this high-powered Patriots attack. The return trip to Foxborough may not be so pleasant, but the Bills will take over first place in the AFC East for at least one week.