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Patriots-Bills prediction

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Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain

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Posted Jan. 01, 2012 @ 2:15 a.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

The Patriots are not only playing for the No. 1 seed in the AFC and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, but also for revenge against the Bills, who upset the Pats in Week Three.

Buffalo has not swept a season series with New England since 1999, and Chan Gailey's squad is much different than it was in Week Three, or even later on when the Bills got off to a 5-2 start and were in first place in the AFC East.

The Patriots are in the midst of a seven-game win streak, looking to match last year's feat of ending the season by winning eight games in a row.

Unlike last season, the Patriots have plenty to play for in the regular-season finale.

Tom Brady is dealing with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder, but he has played through worse. The Patriots' O-line will be without Logan Mankins, and it will be key to see how the young group protects its signalcaller, who is not at 100 percent.

The Bills have not given up, despite a seven-game losing streak that dropped them from first to worst in the AFC East. They have a banged-up O-line, as well, and a very poor defense. Ryan Fitzpatrick will look to take advantage of the Patriots' poor passing defense and air it out the way he did in Week Three.

It's easy to say that this game shouldn't be difficult for the Patriots — neither should the games against the Redskins and Colts have been. But with the way the Patriots' offense has played, the Bills will have little chance of stopping Brady, who could pass Dan Marino, and Drew Brees, for most passing yards in a season all-time.

Stopping Bills RB C.J. Spiller will be key for the Patriots' front seven, and some improvement in the secondary would avoid a shootout. The Patriots will give up points — they always do — but New England should enter the playoffs as the AFC's top team.

Prediction: Patriots 38, Bills 20

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