Welcome to this week’s edition of NFL Breakdown. We focus on three games you need to check out and all the info that you’ll need ahead of the contests. This week we will look at the matchups between the Bills and Broncos, Patriots and Dolphins, and Chiefs and Saints.
Buffalo Bills at Denver Broncos
- Spread: Bills -6.5 (-113)
- Point Total: 53
Buffalo is coming off their first real statement win of the season. They covered last week against the Steelers in a 26-15 victory where they picked off Ben Roethlisberger twice and only allowed 47 rushing yards and 224 total yards. Remarkably, they held Pittsburgh to just one third-down conversion on ten attempts. Quarterback Josh Allen continues to improve year-over-year as he is having his best season to date. Allen is squarely behind both Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers in the MVP race, but there is still time for him to make a legitimate case. If Buffalo has a weakness, it is the 22nd ranked rushing yards per game. Denver presents a favorable matchup for Devin Singletary and Zack Moss.
The Broncos are one game away from elimination from the postseason and this is likely the end of their line. They have been unable to stay healthy, they are fourth-worst in the league in points scored per game, and bottom third in points allowed. Quarterback Drew Lock looked terrible in his return from injury against the Chiefs, but completed 21 of 27 passes for 280 yards and four touchdowns against Carolina. In order for Denver to have something to play for in the last two games, Lock will have to be more than perfect against the Bills.
As the playoff picture takes shape, the Bills are a full two games ahead of Miami for the AFC East title. This week and next against the Patriots are “take care of business” games. If they look too far in the future they could end up with a pivotal game against the Dolphins in week 17. Denver has an opportunity to score against the Bills, who are currently 15th in the league in points allowed. Regardless, the Bills blasted their 2.5 point spread last week and should have no trouble covering a touchdown against the Broncos. Both teams are 8-5 against the spread and a combined 14-11-1 in over/unders. Take the Bills and the under.
New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins
- Spread: Dolphins -2 (-112)
- Point Total: 41.5
Miami makes its money on defense. They allow the second-lowest points per game, the lowest third-down conversion percentage in the league, and are tied for most takeaways per game with Pittsburgh. The team picked off Patrick Mahomes three times last week. They are currently two games ahead of Las Vegas and are in the final wildcard spot by virtue of the tie-breaker over Baltimore. The Dolphins control their own destiny but face the Raiders and Bills to finish the year. A win here makes things a little less stressful in the next two weeks.
New England is still in the playoff race, though they would need to win out and get a lot of help. Beating Miami would give them a nice start. New England did beat Miami in Week 1, but both teams are in different positions now. One week they put up 45, the next they score just three. Bill Belichick has not lost to a rookie quarterback since losing to Geno Smith and the New York Jets in 2013 and is 21-5 all-time against rookies. Can Tua Tagovailoa break the streak?
Miami is far and away the league-best at 10-3 against the spread, but only 5-8 in over/unders. New England is 6-7 against the spread and 4-9 in over/unders. The Dolphins’ defense should have a field day against the team with the 9th lowest yards per game. Cam Newton and the Patriots’ passing game is abysmal. Nothing like what they saw against the Chiefs last week. Dolphins to cover and the under.
Kansas City Chiefs at New Orleans Saints
- Spread: Chiefs -2.5 (-122)
- Point Total: 50.5
Kansas City fell behind last week, took a commanding lead, then gave up 17 fourth-quarter points to Miami. Patrick Mahomes had just his second three-interception game in his career but did complete 24 of his 34 passes for 393 yards and two touchdowns. For some reason, Head coach Andy Reid force-fed Clyde Edwards-Helaire who only managed 2 yards per carry. The Chiefs lead the league in passing and total yards per game and are third in passing touchdowns per game. One of the all-time great signal-callers inexplicably stuck with the ground game. It does not matter how many interceptions he has thrown, you cannot take the ball out of Mahomes’s hands with an ineffective rushing attack.
The Saints lost just their third game of the season against the Eagles with Jalen Hurts getting his first career start. Miles Sanders had a field day, rushing 14 times for 115 yards and two touchdowns. On the day, the Saints gave up 246 rushing yards and the offensive line allowed five sacks. Drew Brees is back. He is going to have to play perfectly and the defense will have to find a way to slow down the 87 weapons at Kansas City’s disposal.
Both teams have already clinched a playoff spot and are in the mix for a first-round bye. KC is only 6-7 against the spread and in over/unders and New Orleans is 7-6 and 8-5 respectively. Reid cannot stick with his run game against the Saints’ defense allowing the 2nd fewest rushing yards per game. If the Saints can keep it close, they may be able to take advantage of the Chiefs’ ineffective front that allows the 7th most rushing yards per game. Still, take the Chiefs and the over in this matchup.
Week 14 Recap: Big time hangover from getting that Colts monkey off my back. Let’s even it up this week.
- Last Week Against the Spread: 0-3
- Last Week Over/Under: 2-1
- Season Against the Spread: 15-18
- Season Over/Under: 15-6
*Odds via DraftKings