A rash of injuries continues to threaten the New England Patriots’ pursuit of a perfect record as they prepare for a second matchup with Rex Ryan and the visiting Buffalo Bills on Monday night. The Patriots kept their unbeaten record intact – barely – with a last-second, 54-yard field goal in a 27-26 win at the New York Giants last weekend but lost another key player in the process.
Wide receiver Julian Edelman, who had a team-leading 61 catches to go along with seven touchdowns, broke a bone in his foot Sunday and is expect to be sidelined 6-to-8 weeks. “You wish you could just plug somebody else in but it’s impossible,” New England quarterback Tom Brady said. “Julian Edelmans aren’t just sitting out on the street anywhere, they’d be playing for another team.” Ryan, who moved from the New York Jets to Buffalo in the offseason, will be trying to avenge a 40-32 loss to the Patriots in Week 2. The Bills are tied for second in the AFC East following back-to-back wins over division rivals Miami and New York.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE HISTORY: The line has held steady at the opening line of Patriots -7.5 for most of the week, with just the juice adjusting. The total has been bet down one point from its opening number, going from 49 to 48.
Bills – T C. Kouandjio (probable Monday, knee), CB L. McKelvin (probable Monday, illness), RB K. Williams (probable Monday illness), RG R. Incognito (questionable Monday, shoulder).
Patriots – OL M. Cannon (questionable Monday, toe), G T. Jackson (questionable Monday, knee), T S. Vollmer (questionable Monday, head), WR K. Martin (questionable Monday, hamstring), WR M. Slater (questionable Monday, undisclosed), LB J. Collins (out Monday, illness), WR J. Edelman (out indefinitely, foot).
WEATHER REPORT: It should be a nice, but chilly night for football in Foxborough. The forecast calls for clear skies and temperatures in the low 30’s. There will be a very slight 3-5 mile per hour wind blowing towards the southeast end zone.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Bills (-2.5) – Patriots (-8.5) + home field (-3) = Patriots -9.5
ABOUT THE BILLS (5-4, 5-4 ATS, 5-4 O/U): Since coming off its bye, Buffalo has had success with a ground-and-pound attack that Ryan favored with the Jets, getting a combined 378 yards rushing and four touchdowns from the running back tandem of LeSean McCoy and rookie Karlos Williams. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor has been picked off once since throwing three interceptions in the Week 2 loss to New England while wide receiver Sammy Watkins provides a big play threat if he can remain healthy. The Bills have yielded 17 points in each of the last two weeks after giving up 68 in the previous two losses.
ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (9-0, 5-3-1 ATS, 5-4 O/U): Brady (league-best 24 TD passes) carved up Buffalo for 466 yards and three touchdowns in the first meeting as New England barely thought about running the ball, but two players who combined for 17 catches in that game – Edelman and Dion Lewis – are now out. Tight end Rob Gronkowski, who has a team-high eight touchdowns, had seven receptions and the first of his five 100-yard games this season in the earlier meeting. The Patriots are second in the league in rushing yards allowed (88.2) and third in sacks (30), led by Chandler Jones’ NFL-high 10.5.
* Over is 5-1 in the last six meetings in New England.
* Underdog is 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings.
* Over is 7-2 in the last nine meetings.
* Road team is 15-6 ATS in the last 21 meetings.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The public is siding with New England in this AFC East matchup, with 57 percent of wagers on the Patriots. The public is also on the over with 68 percent of wagers on it.