Patriots vs. Bills: Odds, Stat Predictions for 2022 Wild Card Game

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2022

Patriots vs. Bills: Odds, Stat Predictions for 2022 Wild Card Game

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    Winslow Townson/Associated Press

    The New England Patriots achieved the most success against the Buffalo Bills in the regular season on the ground. 

    Damien Harris produced two 100-yard performances in two different styles of games between the AFC East rivals. The Patriots would be wise to lean on their star running back once again in Saturday's AFC wild-card contest. 

    New England used a run-heavy game plan in adverse conditions to win in its last trip to Buffalo, and a similar strategy could work with Mac Jones playing in his first NFL playoff game.

    Jones' numbers over the last month have not been great, and the Patriots could use Harris to take some pressure off the rookie signal-caller and keep the ball out of Josh Allen's hands. 

    Allen threw for 314 yards and three scores in the Week 16 win meeting in which Buffalo gained a stronghold in the AFC East title race. 

    Allen threw at a high volume in each of his four postseason games, and we should see a similar output as the Bills try to eliminate their divisional rival from the postseason. 

Game Odds

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    Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

    Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

    Spread: Buffalo (-4) 

    Over/Under: 43.5

    Money Line: Buffalo (-195; bet $195 to win $100); New England (+165; bet $100 to win $165) 

    The underdog went 2-0 against the spread in the regular-season series between Buffalo and New England.

    The Patriots won outright as a three-point underdog in the blustery conditions upstate New York offered in Week 13. 

    Buffalo returned the favor with an outright win as a short underdog in Week 16 to earn the edge that put it in front of the Patriots in the AFC East title race.

    The under hit in Week 13, and the over was eclipsed in Week 16. New England is 9-8 to the over this season, while Buffalo is 8-9 to the over. 

Damien Harris

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    Doug Murray/Associated Press

    Two of New England's five highest single-game rushing totals this season occurred against the Bills. 

    The Patriots' offensive staff knows the weaknesses of the Buffalo front seven, and it will try to exploit them once again to get out of the wild-card round with a win. 

    Damien Harris was vital to the ground-game success in both contests. He produced two of his five 100-yard performances against Buffalo.

    Harris had 10 carries for 111 yards and a touchdown in the infamous Week 13 clash in which Mac Jones threw the ball on three occasions. 

    The Alabama product followed that up with 18 carries, 103 yards and three touchdowns on home soil in Week 16. 

    Harris has been a touchdown machine lately. He comes into the postseason on a five-game scoring streak in which he found the end zone on eight occasions. 

    New England should turn to Harris on a frequent basis to establish its identity and take some pressure off Mac Jones, who has five passing touchdowns and five interceptions in his last four games.

    If Jones' play does not improve, the Patriots need Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson to carry the offense and keep Buffalo's offensive unit off the field. 

    Stat Prediction: 20 carries, 105 yards, TD

Josh Allen

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    Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

    Josh Allen will likely throw the ball at a high volume despite the cold temperature. 

    According to Weather.com, the high for Saturday in Orchard Park, New York, will be 11 degrees, while the low is projected to be two degrees. 

    Allen has experience playing in cold conditions from his collegiate days at Wyoming and his time in Buffalo, so it should not affect him a ton. 

    The Bills quarterback is 101-for-166 with five touchdowns and a single interception in his four postseason starts. His highest playoff passing-yard total came in the wild-card round last year against the Indianapolis Colts. 

    Allen also did some damage with his legs in those contests. He ran for over 50 yards in three of those four games, with his playoff high coming in last season's AFC Championship Game. 

    Allen has 13 total touchdowns in seven meetings with the Patriots. He had four touchdowns and zero interceptions in the two regular-season games in 2021. 

    The Buffalo signal-caller has a better set of passing-game weapons than Mac Jones, and he should try to take advantage of the New England secondary from the start to shift all the momentum to his team's side. 

    Stefon Diggs, Gabriel Davis, Cole Beasley and Dawson Knox could be used in a variety of ways, and they all could be threats in red-zone opportunities. 

    Even if J.C. Jackson plays a tremendous game on one side of the field, Allen can still pick apart the New England secondary, as he did in Week 16. 

    Stat Prediction: 25-for-41, 320 yards, 2 TD; 7 carries, 45 yards. 

        

    Statistics obtained from Pro Football Reference.

       

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