Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots
The Bills offense enters New England second in yards per play, second in yards per rush attempt, and ninth in yards per pass attempt. The Patriots defense has played the following quarterbacks in their last five games: Justin Fields, Zach Wilson, Sam Ehlinger, Zach Wilson again, and Kirk Cousins. Cousins and Fields were able to exploit the Patriots defense which gives me plenty of optimism for Josh Allen. What gives me concern is the Bills have shown rough home vs away splits this year. This season the Bills average 9.0 yards per pass attempt at home but just 6.9 in away games. The Bills have also shown an increased willingness to run the ball more often lately. In their last three games they have passed the ball 57.21% of plays. That is decently lower than their season long average which is 60.77%. The Patriots defense is seventh in yards allowed per play, sixth in yards allowed per pass attempt, and ninth in yards allowed per rush attempt. Given the Bills "struggles" on the road, and the relative strength of this Patriots defense I'm not surprised to see this total at just 43.5 points. I'd trust the Bills to move the ball, but they may struggle getting touchdowns instead of field goals. On the season, the Bills rank just 19th in red zone scoring percentage.
The Pats are coming off a narrow loss to the Vikings on Thanksgiving day. This season, the Patriots rank 17th in yards per play, tenth in yards per rush attempt, and fifth in yards per pass attempt. Given the amount of injuries on the Bills defense, I'd upgrade the Patriots slightly in this matchup. They will need all the help they can get against a Bills defense that is third in opponent yards per point. That tells us that opponents facing the Bills will need to sustain their drives in order to score. It doesn't help the Patriots are just 25th in third down conversion percentage. With shutdown corner Tre'Davious white back for the Bills, my guess is that the Pats lean on Rhamondre Stevenson heavily in this contest. The Bills rank ninth in opponent yards allowed per rush attempt, so the Patriots could struggle all night if they can't find success on the ground.
BUF -3.5 +100 (SuperBook) / NE +3.5 -101 (Prophet Exchange)
BUF o43.5 -104 (Prophet Exchange) / u44 -109 (Pinnacle)
The Bills and the Patriots played on Thanksgiving which should mostly nullify any advantage of an extended time off. If anything, it likely gives Bill Belichick time to prepare an effective defensive game plan for the Bills. The Bills have plenty of questionable players especially on defense, so that is definitely something to monitor. The Bills also have had an illness going through their locker room which could have unpredictable effects. However the return of Tre'Davious White should continue to elevate this defense that will be missing Von Miller this week. I like the under in this matchup and would expect both offenses to struggle scoring touchdowns.
DFS (Draftkings) Showdown Picks
Best Captain Options:
Josh Allen $18,300 - The last time the Bills played the Patriots Josh Allen threw for 308 yards, five touchdowns, and no interceptions. He also added added 66 rushing yards on just six attempts. This matchup appears difficult on paper for the Bills offense, however Allen can make us all look silly by halftime.
Best Value Plays:
Pierre Strong $200 - WIth Damien Harris already ruled out, Pierre Strong becomes a decent value play. I believe the Patriots must run the ball in order to win this matchup. If they are successful, it will likely cause increased rushing attempts for the team as a whole. That could give Strong up to seven carries which he could easily turn into a touchdown.
Mac Jones $9,400 - Jones had an outlier performance on Thanksgiving, but I don't expect that to continue against the Bills. With Tre'Davious White back, the Patriots could have plenty of struggles moving the ball through the air. They have far better chances at moving the ball on the ground.
Devin Singletary $10,500 (At Captain) - Singletary will likely go under owned at the captain position on Thursday. The Patriots are currently second in points allowed to the running back position thus giving him a bad matchup. However Singletary has touched the ball 14 or more times in three straight games. If Singletary struggles with efficiency he could still make up for it by scoring multiple touchdowns. At his price point, that could be all you need in order to win a tournament.