Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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CAR at ATL *NE at BUF *SD at KC *WAS at TB
*CIN at JAC *NO at GB *SEA at STL *CHI at DAL (MON)
*Updated *MIA at ARI *NYG at PHI *SF at NYJ Bye: IND, PIT

Prediction: NE 30, BUF 20 (Line: NE by 3.5)

Players to Watch: BUF RB's, T.J. Graham

Players Updated: C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson, Tashard Choice, Rob Gronkowski

The 1-2 Patriots have a losing record for the first time in ten years and chances are that has been realized by the players and coaches. This does not bode that well for the 2-1 Bills who have beaten the Chiefs and Browns. But the Pats lost 31-34 in Buffalo during week three of last year and later won 49-21 at home. Have to like the Pats here and man - a loss would just be unthinkable. The Patriots have won nine of the last ten meetings.

New England Patriots
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TEN 34-13 10 BUF -----
2 ARI 18-20 11 IND -----
3 @BAL 30-31 12 @NYJ -----
4 @BUF ----- 13 @MIA -----
5 DEN ----- 14 HOU -----
6 @SEA ----- 15 SF -----
7 NYJ ----- 16 @JAC -----
8 @STL ----- 17 MIA -----
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NE @ BUF Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady 320,3
WR Kenny Britt 3-40
TE Rob Gronkowski 6-80,1
PK Stephen Gostkowski 3 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The loss to the Cardinals was a big surprise and while the loss to the Ravens was hardly a shock, it still sends the Patriots forward with a losing record. That makes two games in a row that Tom Brady passed for healthy yardage and yet only one touchdown when the team needed more. The absence of Aaron Hernandez should not matter this much but twice now defenses have been surprisingly effective at holding the Patriots at bay.

Stevan Ridley opened the season like a stud but then has been far less successful. With Hernandez out, the Patriots have taken to using Danny Woodhead more and that will likely continue until the tight end returns. The Pats are not throwing to the backs more though and Ridley still has a role. Woodhead even took a short touchdown away from Ridley. For now, the backfield is back to a committee.

Julian Edelman has been playing more and scored last week but injured his hand and may not be available. As this is the Patriots, knowing his status will largely be a crap shoot by design. After Edelman left the game, Wes Welker finally had a game reminiscent of his previous seasons when he ended with eight catches for 142 yards. Welker has not scored this season and has been less productive. Edelman being out has helped more than anything though Hernandez absence also has sparked at least a bit more use. Brandon Lloyd is another starter who has yet to score a touchdown though he too finally had a big game when he ended with nine receptions for 108 yards.

Rob Gronkowski was held to a freakishly low 21 yards on two catches which was because the Ravens pass rush forced Gronk into more of a blocking role. That won't be a problem this week. Kellen Winslow and Michael Hoomanawanui both had one catch while not doing much to make anyone forget about Hernandez. Deion Branch is back but not busy enough to merit fantasy attention.

The Bills have the better record but anything short of a big win here will be a surprise.

Gaining Fantasy Points NE 16 15 10 1 3 18
Preventing Fantasy Points BUF 20 23 27 6 9 20

QB Tom Brady, NE BUF 0000026010 ***
Brady's worst fantasy outing of the year came in Week 13 against this defense. It marked the first game since Week 1 he didn't throw a touchdown pass. Versus Buffalo since Week 10, QBs have averaged 216.8 yards (25th) and 15 fantasy points (31st) per contest, tossing a TD every 27 catches (30th).
RB James White, NE BUF 3005300000 ***
White will get a few looks added to his workload with Rex Burkhead out of commission. The Patriots will spread it around, and Dion Lewis is the most likely recipient of the majority of extra touches. Buffalo has not allowed a receiving TD over the past 24 receptions. White caught four of his six targets for 32 yards in the Week 13 trip to Western New York.

Update: White is questionable and should be considered a gametime decision.
RB Mike Gillislee, NE BUF 3001100000 *
Gillislee will see some action in all likelihood with the expected loss of Rex Burkhead (knee). While it would be poetic if the former Bill rank roughshod over his former employer, starting and capping fantasy seasons with a bang, we can't bank on recommending him.

Update: Burkhead is indeed out.
WR Chris Hogan, NE BUF 002200000 ***
Hogan was a surprise scratch last week after playing through his shoulder injury in Week 14. If he cannot go, the offense loses a quality weapon in the intermediate- and long-range passing game. The Bills have held wideouts to three scores in the past five games, or once every 19 catches (25th). This is a bottom-six matchup in both scoring systems.

Update: Wait until about 90 minutes before kickoff, since the Patriots shroud everything in mystery. He's questionable and was limited Friday.
TE Rob Gronkowski, NE BUF 0081101000 ***
Gronk went for 147 yards on nine catches in the Week 13 trip to Buffalo. He torched them in the one game with Tom Brady last year, too, and 21-plus PPR points in three of his last four visits with the Bills. Since Week 10, this defense rates 12th-easiest in PPR (16th in standard).
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE BUF 2233 ***
All 11 extra point chances have been on the mark, and 11 of the 14 three-point kicks have been good. While this is the No. 17 matchup for XPAs, it is the third-best place to find a field goal.

Buffalo Bills
Homefield: Ralph Wilson Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @NYJ 28-48 10 @NE -----
2 KC 35-17 11 MIA -----
3 @CLE 24-14 12 @IND -----
4 NE ----- 13 JAC -----
5 @SF ----- 14 STL -----
6 @ARI ----- 15 SEA -----
7 TEN ----- 16 @MIA -----
8 BYE ----- 17 NYJ -----
9 @HOU ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB LeSean McCoy 110,1 3-20
WR Jeremy Kerley 4-50
WR Rod Streater 2-30
PK Stephen Hauschka 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Bills are 2-1 thanks in no small part to playing the Chiefs and Browns but now hit a bad stretch of the schedule with facing the Pats, then hitting the road to San Francisco and Arizona. That'll knock down the 28 point average per game. Losing C.J. Spiller for this week is only going to make it harder and take away the one weapon that was actually working every week.

Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown for at least two scores each week but has been light on the yardage in part because C.J. Spiller was shredding the Jets and Chiefs. He posted 300+ yards in both meetings with the Patriots last season and scored twice in each. This week will be a new test for him since none of his receivers have gained more than 61 yards in a game so far and the running game is not going to be very effective.

C.J. Spiller avoided a broken clavicle as first feared but will still miss this week with a sprained shoulder. There is a chance that Fred Jackson plays at least a limited role this week as he returns from a knee sprain. Jackson said he thought he could return this week so I will include him in a limited fashion and update as his status gains any clarity.

The Bills receivers have been very light on the catches and yardage but Stevie Johnson has scored every week even though he is averaging just four catches for 57 yards per game. Scott Chandler once again started his season with touchdowns in the first two games but then ended with only 22 yards on two catches against the Browns. He has been held to four catches or less each week. This is just not as effective a passing offense as we saw in early 2011 and needs the running ability of Spiller or Jackson to keep the ball moving. The rookie T.J. Graham scored for the first time last week and had three catches for 24 yards. The Bills offense needs some diversification and Donald Jones is not providing much help.

Playing at home is favorable but the Patriots are 1-2 and that has be really, really focusing for them right now. The Pats are playing better defense this year and are going to be very motivated.

Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 12 5 18 21 31 9
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 23 17 20 25 14 2

RB LeSean McCoy, BUF @NE 6003200000 ***
McCoy's versatility makes him tough to continue from a fantasy points allowed perspective. The Pats gave up 93 yards to him on just 15 carries in Week 13, but he contributed only nine yards through the air. Merely one of the last 110 carries New England has faced wound up in the end zone (31st).
WR Zay Jones, BUF @NE 002200000 ***
Jones was blanked on two targets last week and has just five receptions in his last three games, including a two-catch, 22-yard effort vs. the Pats in Week 13.
TE Charles Clay, BUF @NE 004500000 ***
IN the past five games, tight ends have averaged four receptions (21st) and 35 yards (26th) yards against the Patriots. None of the 20 total catches made it into the end zone. Clay finished with 20 yards on three grabs in the Week 13 meeting.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Stephen Hauschka, BUF @NE 0011 ***
Two teams provide worse fantasy matchups this week, and no team is harsher than the Pats when it comes to possible points and field goal attempts.

CAR at ATL *NE at BUF *SD at KC *WAS at TB
*CIN at JAC *NO at GB *SEA at STL *CHI at DAL (MON)
*Updated *MIA at ARI *NYG at PHI *SF at NYJ Bye: IND, PIT

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