NFL against the spread picks: Bills-Patriots square off in crucial rematch

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It’s hard to quit the Buffalo Bills.

No matter how many bad losses the popular preseason Super Bowl pick takes, there’s still the lingering hope that they’ll break out. Maybe they can be this year’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and make a playoff run. They’ve really never looked like that team this season, but it’s hard to give up on a team with so much talent.

With a win on Sunday, the Bills can make up for a lot of mistakes earlier this season. A win over the New England Patriots will put them in prime position to take the AFC East. They’d be tied with the Patriots, have the lead in the tiebreaker and the Bills finish with home games against the Atlanta Falcons and New York Jets. They’re 2-point underdogs versus New England at BetMGM.

This is one of the games of the season, not long after the first meeting that we’ll remember for a long time. The Patriots won that game in a windstorm by passing the ball three times and running it 32 times in a row. It was a close game but the Patriots made the few plays they needed and the Bills did not. But that’s been the story of the Bills’ season. There’s a lot of potential and they’re not bad, but they’re not the Super Bowl contender everyone expected.

I’ll take the Patriots, who will have to play a more conventional game than the first meeting, but on the whole have been the better team this season. It’s possible the Bills suddenly look like that Super Bowl favorite we expected, but it would be nice to see it first.

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) is looking for a season sweep of the Bills. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) is looking for a season sweep of the Bills. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Here are the picks for Week 16, with the point spreads from BetMGM:

Titans (+3) over 49ers

It seems like two teams going in opposite directions, but the line is a little high for this home dog.

Browns (+7.5) over Packers

I don’t think the Browns can afford another loss, and presumably they know that too. They battled hard in a tough loss on Monday and this game can go one of two ways: They’re energized by how well they played short-handed and that carries over, or they have a big emotional (and physical) letdown.

Colts (+1) over Cardinals

On one hand, this seems like a great spot to take the Cardinals. This is a prime overreaction line to Week 15, when the Colts won in primetime and the Cardinals lost to the Lions. But I believe in the Colts.

Lions (+5.5) over Falcons

This is a perplexing line. Would it surprise anyone if the Lions won?

Bengals (-3) over Ravens

The line keeps creeping toward Cincinnati and I think it’s justified. They beat the Ravens already once this season and Baltimore is really beat up.

Rams (-3) over Vikings

I’d like to back the Vikings, a team that advanced stats say is better than their record. Then you watch them and realize you don’t want to be in a position in which you have to rely on them winning.

Jets (+1) over Jaguars

If the Jaguars can’t beat the Texans at home, why would I pick them to win on the road against anyone?

Eagles (-10) over Giants

The Giants look like the team that is counting the days until the season is over.

Panthers (+10) over Buccaneers

Not a pick that is easy to make, but the Bucs have some key injuries and they’re a smart organization that realizes they likely aren’t getting the No. 1 seed in the NFC and won’t lose the NFC South so it’s best to go into rest mode and get healthy.

Chargers (-10) over Texans

We’ll keep an eye on Los Angeles’ COVID situation, but this is still the Texans they're facing.

Bears (+6.5) over Seahawks

I don’t like betting the Bears, who have been awful lately. But the Seahawks aren’t really that much better, and the line is too high.

Steelers (+7.5) over Chiefs

The Chiefs’ COVID situation is a concern. Let’s just take the points and hope the Steelers defense slows down whoever ends up playing for Kansas City.

Raiders (-1.5) over Broncos

Drew Lock will be the starter on Sunday, and no matter how bad the Raiders offense has been, I have even less faith in the Broncos with Lock.

Washington (+10.5) over Dallas

Assuming WFT will have some players back, I feel OK taking them getting double-digit points. Anyone who has watched the Cowboys lately knows their offense still isn’t right.

Saints (-3) over Dolphins

The Saints defense might drag this team to the playoffs. The Dolphins have been on a great winning streak but they haven’t beaten many good teams, and this will be a tough environment.

Last week: 12-4

Season to date: 123-100-1

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