Expert predictions for Patriots vs. Bills playoff game originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The New England Patriots have returned to the AFC playoffs, and their first opponent is one they know very well.
The Buffalo Bills will host the Patriots at Highmark Stadium on Saturday night in one of three AFC Wild Card Round playoff matchups on this weekend's schedule.
It's the third meeting of the season between these AFC East rivals. Each team won on the road.
Buffalo and New England haven't met in the playoffs since the AFL Divisional Playoff in 1963, which the "Boston" Patriots won 26-8.
Playing on Wild Card Weekend is not a familiar scenario for the Patriots. They've played in this round just four times since Bill Belichick took over as head coach in 2000, despite making 19 playoffs appearance from 2001 to 2020. New England is 2-2 in the Wild Card Rounder under Belichick, including a loss to the Tennessee Titans in Tom Brady's final game with the franchise in 2019.
The Patriots limped to the playoffs, losing three of their last four games. Rookie quarterback Mac Jones also struggled during that stretch. The Bills closed the regular season with a four-game win streak, including an impressive 33-21 victory over the Patriots at Gillette Stadium.
Which team will advance to the AFC Divisional Round?
Here's a roundup of expert predictions for this weekend's Patriots vs. Bills playoff game (with the predicted score, when given).
Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk: Patriots 20, Bills 19
Mike Reiss, ESPN: Bills 20, Patriots 17
Jeremy Fowler, ESPN: Bills
Rob Ninkovich, ESPN: Patriots
Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com: Patriots 20, Bills 19
Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times: Bills 28, Patriots 20
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Bills 30, Patriots 17
Jeremy Cluff, AZCentral.com: Bills 28, Patriots 24
Bill Bender, Sporting News: Bills 26, Patriots 20
Emmanuel Morgan, New York Times: Bills -4 (ATS pick)
FiveThirtyEight model: Bills 70 percent, Patriots 30 percent