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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket

Prediction: NE 20, BUF 17

Update: Roscoe Parrish is expected to miss this week and has been removed from the projections. Marshawn Lynch was held out of practice on Wednesday and limited on both Thursday and Friday. He'll likely be a game time decision so I am lowering his projections regardless and he may not play. Most likely, he will play and just share more with Fred Jackson.

The Patriots can win the AFC East with a win here and a loss by the Dolphins to the Jets. If the Dolphins win, then the Patriots can get a wildcard with a win here and a loss by the Ravens to the Jaguars. The Bills are just happy to have finally managed to beat someone when they took down the Broncos last week.

The Patriots beat the Bills 20-10 when they hosted the game in week 10.

New England Patriots (10-5)
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 KC 17-10 -16.5 45
2 @NYJ 19-10 +1.5 39
3 MIA 13-38 -13 34.5
4 BYE - - -
5 @SF 30-21 -3 41.5
6 @SD 10-30 +6 44.5
7 DEN 41-7 -3 46.5
8 STL 23-16 -7 43.5
9 @IND 15-18 +5.5 45
10 BUF 20-10 -4 41
11 NYJ 31-34 -3.5 41.5
12 @MIA 48-28 +2 42
13 PIT 10-33 -1 40
14 @SEA 24-21 -5 43
15 @OAK 49-26 -7 40
16 ARZ 47-7 -7.5 45.5
17 @BUF - -6.5 42
NE @ BUF Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Cassell     270,1
RB Sammy Morris 60,1    
TE Ben Watson   20  
WR Randy Moss   80  
WR Jabar Gaffney   40  
WR Wes Welker   90,1  
PK Stephen Gostkowski 3 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The "Year Sans Brady" hasn't been nearly as disastrous as was feared though the Pats need a win here and some help to go anywhere in January. Matt Cassel has proven to be a more than adequate quarterback in the system and could end up elsewhere based on what he did this season (and likely would never do again elsewhere). The rushing game is combining a slew of runners to produce top 5 numbers though you hardly want to risk starting any individually. But it all boils down to a win here... and a little help.

Quarterback: Matt Cassel has been far better at home than on the road this year but in recent games he seems to have cured that problem with eight touchdowns in the last three trips away. He only had one score in the first four road games. His 345 yards and three scores in the snow last week should answer questions about how he'll fare in inclement weather. Evidently quite well.

Cassel passed for 234 yards and no scores against the visiting Bills this year.

Running Backs: The musical chairs that is the New England backfield now has Sammy Morris joined by Lamont Jordan with Kevin Faulk no longer taking handoffs but catching touchdowns all the same. The problem is that Sammy Morris has been almost reliable with yardage and scores but now Jordan has cut deeply into what Morris could have done. Jordan scored twice last week and once in Oakland. It all serves as a reminder that the running backs on the Patriots are the last guys you want to rely on.

Benjarvus Green-Ellis ran for 105 yards and one touchdown against the Bills this season during his 15 minutes of fame.

Wide Receivers: Randy Moss has caught three scores in the last two games to tie him with Anquan Boldin as the NFL leader with 11 receiving touchdowns. Moss only needs five yards this week to top 1000 yards. Wes Welker is currently #1 in the league with 109 catches and he already has 1139 yards though only six scores. No other wideout has stepped up other than Jabar Gaffney on the rare occasion.

Moss only collected five catches for 53 yards when the Bills visited earlier this year but Welker turned in nine receptions for 107 yards.

Tight Ends: Ben Watson does something about once a month to remind you that he has no fantasy value.

Match Against the Defense: The Bills have played much better at home this year where there have only been six passing touchdowns allowed and two rushing scores. Look for one rushing score I will credit to Morris but could go anywhere and one passing score that favors Welker slightly. This should be a closer game than it might seem.

Gaining Fantasy Points NE 8 5 6 28 1 28
Preventing Fantasy Points    BUF 16 13 19 12 25 24

Buffalo Bills (7-8)
Homefield: Ralph Wilson Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 SEA 34-10 -1 39
2 @JAX 20-16 +6 38
3 OAK 24-23 -9.5 36.5
4 @STL 31-14 -8 41.5
5 @ARZ 17-41 +1 45
6 BYE - - -
7 SD 23-14 +1 46.5
8 @MIA 16-23 -1.5 42.5
9 NYJ 17-26 -5.5 43
10 @NE 10-20 +4 41
11 CLE 27-29


12 @KC 54-31 -3 43.5
13 SF 3-10 -7 42.5
14 MIA 3-16 -1 42
15 @NYJ 27-31 +7 41
16 @DEN 30-23 +6.5 45.5
17 NE - +6.5 42
BUF vs NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Trent Edwards     220,2
RB Marshawn Lynch 40 10  
TE Robert Royal   20  
WR Lee Evans   80,1  
WR Steve Johnson   30  
WR Roscoe Parrish 50,1
PK Rian Lindell 1 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: A win this week would do wonders to help Dick Jauron keep his job but even that probably would not be enough after the team squandered a 4-0 start to the season and suffered mounting losses despite having not lost any players of note. The Bills once led the AFC East and end up as the only team certain to miss the playoffs. The offense never showed any signs of progress and the defense could only do so much.

Quarterback: Trent Edwards returned to the playing field last week and produced 193 yards and one score like he had not missed a beat from his two week layoff. One score and around 200 yards was right around where Edwards lived in most games. In six home games played, he has passed for five touchdowns. Edwards started the year with better yardage but has failed to maintain that success.

Edwards passed for 120 yards and one score in New England this year.

Running Backs: Marshawn Lynch is winding down his second season and has improved some as the season progressed. He has three 100 yard games that all came in the final seven weeks but he only has eight rushing touchdowns and only two in the last eight games.

His problem is that Fred Jackson has scored in each of the last two games and is used just enough to deny Lynch a heavy load in most games. Lynch has never had more than 23 carries in a game and usually ends below 20 each week.

Lynch only managed 46 yards on 14 carries in New England this season.

Wide Receivers: The rookie James Hardy has been placed on injured reserve and Josh Reed plays because they cannot find someone to replace him. The rookie Steve Johnson has scored in each of the last two games but has never had more than two catches in a game nor more than 41 yards.

Lee Evans started the year with a string of three scoring games but hasn't seen the endzone since week seven. He has three games over 100 yards but is ending the year with more games of fewer than 30 yards than not. The Edwards to Evans connection seemed to be taking hold through midseason but has turned into the same inconsistent pattern of 2007.

No Bills wideout had more than 31 yards against the Pats this year and James Hardy had one touchdown.

Tight Ends: Robert Royal has been as good as 70 yards in a game but has far more games with less than 10 yards. In New England, he had one catch for six yards.

Match Against the Defense: The Patriots have only allowed one rushing touchdown in road games and the Bills are far worse than that. Look for moderate yardage and no score by Lynch or Jackson.

Edwards faces a secondary that has gotten worse and has given up at least two scores in each of the last six road games. Look for those two scores to end up with Evans (finally and another for Parrish or Johnson.

Gaining Fantasy Points BUF 17 16 24 23 6 17
Preventing Fantasy Points    NE 25 11 30 20 3 19

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