Sunday, December 29, 2013

Week 17 picks: Bills at Patriots

Publisher Nick St. Denis, associate editor Dan Begnoche and senior contributor Sean Donovan pick the Buffalo Bills' AFC bout with the New England Patriots.

Dan's take:
Buffalo's defense has been impressive, and a win here would give the team a respectable three-game winning streak to hang its hat on. With first-round-bye implications on the line, however, don't expect New England to roll over and coast into the postseason. Another strong outing by the Patriots' running game fuels a more balanced, conservative passing attack from Tom Brady, who will no doubt be knocked around a bit throughout this divisional bout. Look for big games from Shane Vereen and Julian Edelman, as quick outs and slants will be crucial to avoid a deadly pass rush.
Prediction: Patriots 24, Bills 20

Nick's take:
Both teams should be implementing a heavy dose of the run game -- for the Bills, because it's a strength, and for the Patriots, because New England shouldn't put Brady in harm's way too often against a stout Bills pass rush. The Patriots will take their shots, however, it'll just be early in order to try and put Buffalo away. The Bills have nothing to lose and will undoubtedly be aggressive on both sides of the ball, which makes them dangerous. It also mean that if the Patriots play a clean game, they can run away with it rather easily.
Prediction: Patriots 27, Bills 20

Sean's prediction: Patriots 30, Bills 17