NFL Thursday night: New England hosts Buffalo, and here is clear path to upset by Patriots. Our pick

Charles Krupa/AP



BILLS (8-3) at PATRIOTS (6-5)

Line: BUF by 4.

Cote’s pick: NE, 24-23. Upset!

TV: 8:15 p.m. Thursday, Prime Video.

The soul of a nation is at stake! OK, well, no. But the ownership of the AFC East is! Buffalo thought it finally had the deed, after New England hogged ownership seemingly forever. But Miami and even New York are now laying claim. And Bill Belichick is out there in a hoodie saying, “Wait, hold on. Am I not still here?” The scenario plays out in a much-better-than-average Thursday night matchup.. Bills and Josh Allen have been the Super Bowl betting favorites all season, now they are bumped down to second-fave (behind the Chiefs) and just trying to win what has become the top-to-bottom best division in the NFL. Bills and Patriots both played on Thanksgiving, Buffs winning less than impressively at Detroit, Pats getting beaten in Minnesota. Defense and special teams let NE down, but Belichick teams seldom play that poorly twice in a row. Even if so, things were clicking for Mac Jones, suggesting Pats may be in play even if this one turns higher-scoring than most expect based on a 43.5 over/under. Buffalo is on a 10-2 run in prime time and is 4-1 vs. Pats since 2020 in a series New England previously dominated. But I like the home team here. Belichick is 38-9 as Patriots coach against this opponent, Bills already are missing injured pass rusher Von Miller, and Pats’ own D is poised for a big rebound game after last week.

Note: Betting line courtesy Caesars Sportsbook as of Wednesday afternoon. Picks for remainder of Week 13 games will appear online Thursday afternoon and in print Friday.