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Savage: The Patriots are this season's first road favorite of 10+ points, and probably wind up being the largest road favorite of the year. Historically, you'd have made money just blindly betting the ugly dog when the spread is this high - teams opening as +13 or more at home are 10-7 ATS since 2005. Much like the Dolphins game on TNF, a big part of this game is determining how much you want to downgrade the Bills with the backup QB being in there. Its strange, because Derek Anderson is terrible, but the output the Bills got from the Allen/Peterman combo in weeks 1-6 wasn't much better. I don't think the downgrade to Anderson is worth more than 1-2 points.
I took the Bills tonight, and it looks like I'm the only one. They have a solid defense and the Patriots aren't quite as dominant as in years past. To me, that's enough to take the +14. If I'm wrong and the Patriots blow them out tonight, how do they do it? Do we see the Pats D rise up? Will Kenjon Barner do a Jonas Gray impression? Or do we see Brady use this game as a chance to build rapport with Josh Gordon?
RC: Solid defense? The Bills? 47 to the Ravens. 31 to the Chargers. 22 to GB. 37 to Indy. Only the Vikings fumble-mania game did they hold a good team with a decent O-Line down (6 pts) but Cousins was 40-55 for 296 yards passing. The game was so odd...the Vikes had 65 plays and 55 of them passes. Aside from that one odd game -- the Bills have been smoked by good offenses with good O-Lines -- and that's the Patriots to a 'T'.
New England scores 27+...can Buffalo featuring Derek Anderson get them to 14 pts? Maybe. They need a lucky defensive TD or something. More likely outcome is Pats score 30+ and Buffalo cant get to 17. I wouldn't bet real money on it but I went with 'never bet against Brady' over 'Derek Anderson might cover if everything goes right/the opponent loses 3 fumbles a la Minnesota'.
Savage: The Bills defense is 3rd in yards per play allowed, 6th in DVOA, 14th in turnovers, 9th in sack percentage. I'd say that qualifies as solid. We're all amazed by the fact that Buffalo has managed to win two games already, the defense is the reason why. They've given up some large point totals because their offense is horrendous, constantly either committing turnovers that set the opponent up with a short field or going 3 and out before the defense can take a breath. The Ravens had 4 "scoring drives" in week 1 that were 14 yards or less. The Colts scored 2 TD's in week 7 on drives that started in the redzone. I know this is asking a lot of Derek Anderson, but I think if he can just limit himself to 1-2 turnovers he'll give his team a chance at a cover.
Katz: But how many touchdowns will Derek Anderson throw to the Patriots? If the Bills cover, it will be one of those fluky "why is this happening?" type event. I actually have a feeling they will, but I can't put money on it, or even a pick in a handicapping group.