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NFL

Patriots visit Bills in marquee Monday night matchup

The top spot in the AFC East will be on the line as the New England Patriots visit the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football. The divisional matchup will get underway at 8:15 pm ET from Highmark Stadium.

Patriots have won six-straight

The Patriots come into this one having won six-consecutive games. After starting the season 2-4, they have improved to 8-4 and now sit tied with three other teams for first in the AFC.

Over that span, the Patriots have put up an incredible 35.2 points per contest while holding their opponents to an equally-impressive 10.5 points (and 6.5 over their last four). That is a +24.7 point-differential over a six game sample size. They now hold the best overall point differential in the NFL.

However, the Patriots are unlikely to see an outcome like that this week against a sound Bills team.

Bills look to overtake Patriots for top spot in division

The Bills started the season 4-1 and have gone a pedestrian .500 since, trading wins for losses over the course of their last six games. They now sit at 7-4 and a mere half-game back of the Patriots, and three other teams, for first place in the AFC. A win tonight would have them join those three teams at the top of the conference, and give them sole possession of first place in their division.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick had nothing but good things to say about his opponent ahead of the game.

“From top to bottom, just a good football team that does everything well,” Belichick said of the Bills. “Good, solid team. Good as anyone we’ve played. We know it’ll take a good effort from us Monday night.”

Quarterback matchup

Mac Jones

For New England, it will be rookie Mac Jones starting under center once again. The 23-year-old quarterback has started all 12 games for the Patriots this season and has put up some impressive numbers.

In his first NFL season, the Alabama product has passed for 2850 yards, 16 touchdowns and 8 interceptions while completing 70.3% of his passes and posting a 97.1 passer rating. He finished with a career-high 310 yards last week in a huge 36-13 win over the Tennesse Titans, while throwing 2 touchdowns and no picks.

Mac Jones Props:

Passing Yards: 198.5 (Over: 1.86 | Under: 1.90)

Passing Touchdowns: 1.5 (Over: 2.70 | Under: 1.43)

Interceptions: 0.5 (Under: 1.95 | Over: 1.83)

Passing Attempts: 29.5 (Over: 1.83 | Under: 1.90)

Passing Completions: 19.5 (Over: 1.90 | Under: 1.86)

Josh Allen

On the other side, it will be Josh Allen getting the start at quarterback. The 25-year-old has passed for 3071 yards and a 66.8% completion rate in 11 games this season, to go with 25 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a 99.1 passer rating.

Belichick had high praise for the fourth-year Bills signal-caller.

“His improvement has just been tremendous from where it was three years ago,” Belichick said. “Completion percentage, passer rating, decision making, production, it’s just gone…it’s risen at a really remarkable rate.

“It’s just remarkable how good he has become. Last year, this year’s built on that. What it was when he came into the league. But he’s just made tremendous improvement. Has a lot of command of the offense. They audible a lot. They change things. They obviously have a lot of confidence in him. He handles it well at the line. Rarely run a bad play or where they run into a bad look or a blitz or something like that. He doesn’t get fooled much by anything. It’s really impressive to watch how he’s developed there.”

Josh Allen Props:

Passing Yards: 234.5 (Over: 1.90 | Under: 1.86)

Passing Touchdowns: 1.5 (Over: 1.95 | Under: 1.83)

Interceptions: 0.5 (Under: 1.95 | Over: 1.83)

Passing Attempts: 32.5 (Over: 1.83 | Under: 1.95)

Passing Completions: 21.5 (Over: 2.00 | Under: 1.76)

Betting odds

The Patriots are listed as slight underdogs with a 2.5-point handicap. New England’s money line sits at 2.25 while the Bills sit at 1.71. The over/under is set at 41 total points scored.