Week 13 rounds out on MNF with the game of the week as the red-hot AFC leading Patriots travel to Buffalo to take on the dangerous but inconsistent Bills. Can Mac Jones navigate a hostile environment, inclement weather and the #1 overall defense to move New England’s win streak to seven, or will Josh Allen and this Bills offense build off their Thanksgiving night win over the Saints?
With the weather not likely to favour passing football, many see this as an advantage for the more balanced New England Patriots offense. But, what the Bills have that the Patriots do not is a QB who can run the ball as well as any at the position since prime Cam Newton was carrying the Carolina Panthers to a Super Bowl appearance. Josh Allen has rushed for 35 or more yards in seven of eleven games this season, and in conditions that make it easier for him to tuck and run in a must-win game, I think there’s a great chance he makes it eight in twelve.
Rookie passer Mac Jones has impressed for the Patriots with his veteran-like poise and ability to negotiate the pocket and manage the game. In his twelve games as a pro, the former Alabama man has thrown for 16 TDs against only eight interceptions, but a deeper look will tell you that he’s played some below-average NFL secondaries, and his numbers against better units don’t make quite as nice reading. Against top-16 total defenses, of which Mac has played five, (None in the top-5 and only two in the top-10) his TD/INT ratio is 9:6, and that’s including three of which against a Browns defense that will almost certainly fall into the bottom half of the NFL in this category before the season is done. Whilst the 9:6 TD/INT ratio isn’t horrible, it does show that better defenses can take the ball away from him, and remember, he’ll be playing the #1 total defense in their house in bad weather. I think the Bills can rattle Mac and force an INT or two in what will ultimately settle a close and low scoring affair.
Spread: Bills -3.0
Game Prediction: Bills 20-17 Patriots
Best Bet: Under 50.5 game points, Josh Allen over 35.5 rushing yards and Mac Jones over 0.5 Interceptions @ 4/1 with Bet365 Bet Builder. [0.5]