Sony Michel isn’t going to play. Rob Gronkowski might, but shouldn’t.
Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, and Josh Gordon will all be out on the field Monday night in Buffalo, though you could argue each would find better football by lounging in the Gillette Stadium film room. Bill Belichick will be on the sideline, but the option should exist for him to just send Josh McDaniels in his place.
This is a waste of everybody’s time.
And yet, here we are with a Monday Night Football matchup that has all the fascination of a new menu item at Applebee’s.
But that’s not to say these two teams don’t have something in common.
Case in point: The Patriots’ offense has scored more than 38 points each of the last four weeks, something no team in franchise history has ever done.
The 5-2 Patriots scored 81 the last two weekends during wins over the Kansas City Chiefs and Chicago Bears.
The 2-5 Bills, meanwhile, have scored the same number of points — 81 — over the first seven games.
So, the Bills have that going.
This week’s picks:
Buffalo News staff: All Patriots.
Greg Cote, Miami Herald: Patriots 41, Bills 13. “Buffalo is playing in its first Monday night game since 2008. It will not go well. Tom Brady is 28-3 starting against his lapdog rival, including 14-2 (with five straight W’s) in Western New York. With Derek Anderson at QB again, the Bison’s only hope is that New England forgets to pack Brady for the trip.”
Jimmy Kempski, Philly Voice: Patriots. “Tom Brady is 28-3 against the Bills for his career, and one of those losses was in a meaningless Week 17 game in which he stood on the sidelines for most of the game.”
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Patriots 31, Bills 10. “The Patriots are playing consecutive road games, but that won’t matter here. Buffalo is so inept on offense and the defense let them down last week. Tom Brady and the offense will have a big passing in this one. Patriots big.”
CBS Sports staff: All New England (Buffalo +14).
Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Patriots 38, Bills 16. “After losing to the Lions, the Patriots have scored 38 points three times and 43 another during a four-game losing streak. That doesn’t bode well for the Bills, who haven’t even scored 38 points (31) in their past four games.”
David Steele, Sporting News: Patriots 37, Bills 14. “The Patriots-Bills games had some spice during the brief Rex Ryan tenure in Buffalo, and the atmosphere should be fairly festive in Orchard Park for a night game against a hated rival. Sean McDermott, though, just doesn’t have the horses to hang in there with these Patriots, even though his defense has hung in there in a weekly uphill battle. If Rob Gronkowski or Sony Michel (or both) have to miss this game, it could hamper the Patriots … a little. If Derek Anderson and the offense weren’t so overmatched, it might.”
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Patriots 30, Bills 17. “The Patriots will be without running back Sony Michel, and tight end Rob Gronkowski will be iffy with his bad back. The Bills’ pass defense will let them hang around, and they will be fueled to overachieve with a rare Monday night home crowd behind them. But in the end, New England will salt away as the victor with Tom Brady’s ball-control passing.”
Michael Hurley, CBS Boston: New England (-14). “This line should be 50 points. Give me a break.”
SB Nation staff: All Pats.
Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk: Patriots 30, Bills 13. “The Bills’ offense is a bad joke, no matter who’s at quarterback. This game will be a blowout by halftime, and the Patriots will take their foot off the gas in the second half.”
MassLive staff: All Pats.
Joe Giglio, NJ.com: Patriots (-14). “Only one group of quarterbacks has more interceptions than touchdowns this season: Buffalo’s. This is one of the biggest mismatches of the season. Buffalo’s defense keeps it respectable early, but it’s an easy cover by the end of the night.”
FiveThirtyEight: Patriots with a 71 percent chance of winning.
Elliot Harrison, NFL.com: Patriots 31, Bills 13. “Bills win by 30! … OK, I was wondering if any of you actually read these blurbs or simply glance at the score. If Buffalo is to have a chance Monday night, and not lose by 30, three things must happen:
2. From that pressure, turnovers must come. Move Tom Brady off his all-too-comfortable perch early. He’s enjoyed the creature comforts of home in Buffalo over the lengthy course of his career.
3. If LeSean McCoy can’t go (concussion), pound Chris Ivory in the first quarter, with another heavy dose late. Exactly nobody loves tackling that guy. I don’t even like writing about tackling that guy.
So … James White scores thrice and the Pats win by 18.”
It says here: Patriots 35, Bills 17. Should be an option to send the practice squad to Buffalo instead, not unlike a split-squad spring training venture.