Experts share their picks for the Patriots Wild Card matchup against the Buffalo Bills.
Mike Reiss, ESPN:
Pick: Bills 20, Patriots 17
Bold prediction: Brrrrrr. Here's a bold prediction: They are going to run out of hot chocolate at Highmark Stadium, with temperatures projected to be around 0 degrees. The coldest game the Patriots ever played was a 17-14 home playoff win over the Titans on Jan. 10, 2004, when it was 4 degrees with a wind chill of minus-10. For the Bills, the coldest game in franchise history was Jan. 15, 1994 -- a 29-23 playoff win over the Raiders when it was 0 degrees with a wind chill of minus-32.
Alaina Getzenberg, ESPN
Pick: Bills 17, Patriots 13
What to watch for: Can Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen put on a performance like he did in New England a few weeks ago, or will his recent accuracy issues show up? In the last two games of the regular season, Allen completed 49.3% of passes. The Patriots, meanwhile, held opponents to the second-lowest completion percentage in the league this year, only behind the Bills. Plus, Allen has the second-worst completion percentage in freezing game temperatures over the past 15 seasons (50%), so his ability to put together a more complete game at home will go a long way in the outcome.
Emmanuel Acho, ESPN: Patriots
Matt Bowen, ESPN: Patriots
Mike Clay, ESPN: Bills
Jeremy Fowler: Bills
Dominique Foxworth, ESPN: Bills
Dan Graziano, ESPN: Bills
Rob Ninkovich, ESPN: Patriots
Laura Rutledge, ESPN: Patriots
Kevin Seifert, ESPN: Bills
Seth Wickersham, ESPN: Patriots
Damien Woody, ESPN: Bills
Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com
Pick: Patriots 20, Bills 19
The recent trend lines are going the Bills' way. Buffalo's sneaky-good running attack -- sixth on the season in yards and yards per carry -- has gone to another level because Josh Allen is doing his best Cam Newton impression. The Patriots' defense has been undisciplined and lifeless up front for a month. Mac Jones is mad at himself and playing like a guy trying to be perfect.
I'm zigging here partly because it's 2021 and I need an upset this weekend, and partly because of Bill Belichick. Three matchups in seven weeks is outrageous and should favor the coaching staff that has its team ready to be flexible and creative. Look for guys like Rhamondre Stevenson and Kendrick Bourne to break tackles and start a new generation of random Patriots playoff heroes.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports:
Pick: Bills 30, Patriots 17
This is the third game featuring these two this season, with each winning on the other's field. New England won the first meeting in a wind storm in early December, while the Bills dominated the Pats at their place in late December. The weather is expected to be cold, but not that windy. That means Josh Allen can have success throwing the football. The Patriots haven't been the same team on the road, especially quarterback Mac Jones. Look for the Bills to take away the run and dare him to beat them. He won't. The Bills will be moving on.
Jason La Canfora, CBS Sports: Bills
Will Brinson, CBS Sports: Patriots
Dave Richard, CBS Sports: Bills
Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports: Bills
John Breech, CBS Sports: Bills
Jamey Eisenberg, CBS Sports: Bills
Jared Dubin, CBS Sports: Bills
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk:
Pick: Patriots 20, Bills 19
Bill Belichick is the master of coming up with a game plan that takes away what the opponent's offense does best. But does he have the players to execute it? And will the Bills, faced with the reality of a long-time nemesis trying to spoil a playoff party, be able to rise to the occasion? Belichick has successfully embraced moments like this longer than Josh Allen has been alive.
Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk:
Pick: Bills 28, Patriots 17
The last time the Patriots went to Buffalo, they threw only three passes on their way to an improbable win. I can't see this game unfolding like that. The Bills' defense will be better prepared for the Patriots' offense, and Josh Allen will have a better game as well.
Paul Perillo, Patriots.com:
Pick: Patriots 24, Bills 23
Patriots win back and forth slugfest in frigid Orchard Park.
Mike Dussault, Patriots.com:
Pick: Bills 28, Patriots 27
Despite limping down the stretch and potentially losing one of their only remaining outside cornerbacks to the COVID list this week, the Patriots should leave it all on the field on Saturday night and give the Bills the kind of tough, competitive game that we haven't seen from them in over a month. The Bills just have a little too much firepower, as they fend off their divisional rivals with a last-minute score to advance.
Erik Scalavino, Patriots.com:
Pick: Bills 30, Patriots 23
Even though these two teams split their regular season series this year, it's clear that Buffalo is the stronger team, top to bottom. And they'll be even stronger offensively in this game versus the last outing here in Foxborough, with Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis back in the lineup. The Bills just have too much firepower for New England to keep up, and Buffalo's home crowd in Orchard Park should give the Patriots a reception even colder than the thermometer reading being forecast for Saturday night.