The New England Patriots have rarely been underdogs against the Buffalo Bills during the 20 years Bill Belichick has been the team's head coach, but that's the scenario the Pats will find themselves in Sunday afternoon.
It's a pivotal Week 8 game for the Patriots, who are 2-4 and sit in third place in the AFC East. New England has lost three consecutive games for the first time since 2002 and its offense has scored only one touchdown over the last two games.
The Patriots can still make a push for the AFC East crown because their schedule includes five more divisional games, including two matchups against both the Bills and winless New York Jets. The first Bills game is Sunday in Buffalo, and it's as close to a must-win as it gets for the Patriots.
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Here are the latest betting lines for Patriots vs. Bills -- Provided by our partner PointsBet
Spread: Bills -3.5 (-110), Patriots +3.5 (-110) Moneyline: Bills -196, Patriots +165 Total: Over 44 points (-105), Under 44 points (-115)
How rare is it for the Patriots to be underdogs against the Bills? The Boston Globe's Ben Volin provided the answer:
The Patriots have been great for sports bettors throughout Belichick's tenure as coach, but 2020 is a different story so far. New England is 1-4 against the spread (ATS)g and 1-4 straight up over its last five games.
The Bills have lost seven straight games to the Patriots and nine of the last 10. However, nine of those 10 games came against former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The one game Buffalo won during that stretch was when Brady had been suspended by the NFL for his alleged role in Deflategate.
Buffalo's defense doesn't have to play Brady on Sunday. Instead, it will face a Patriots passing attack led by quarterback Cam Newton that's really struggling. Newton has zero passing touchdowns and five interceptions in his last two games.
The Bills can deliver what would be close to a knockout blow to the Patriots' playoff chances with a win Sunday. It's a fantastic opportunity Buffalo must capitalize on for people to take it seriously in the AFC playoff race.