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Quietly the Atlanta Falcons sit just 1 game below .500. Can they hang with the Buffalo Bills this Sunday? NFL expert Mike Spector is here with his prediction of this Week 17 matchup.
ANALYSIS

Buffalo Bills vs. Atlanta Falcons Prediction: Will the Bills Cover the Two Touchdown Spread?

Perhaps no team in the league secured a more significant win last week than the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo vaulted into first place in the AFC East standings and now control their own destiny for the division title with their win at New England. Meanwhile, the Atlanta Falcons’ playoff hopes look bleak at 7-8, but they do enter this week just one game out of the No. 7 seed in the NFC. Will the Bills have a hangover this week after beating their division rivals, or will they deliver a knockout blow to Atlanta’s playoff chances?

Buffalo Bills vs. Atlanta Falcons Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

Date: Sunday, January 2

Game Time: 1:00 pm ET

Where to Watch: FOX

Click Here For Bills vs Falcons Odds

Bills vs. Falcons INJURY REPORT

Falcons

Out: LB Dorian Etheridge, LB James Vaughters, LB Brandon Copeland, WR Tajae Sharpe

Bills

Questionable: G Jon Feliciano

Out: CB Cam Lewis, G Ike Boettger, DT Star Lotulelei

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Buffalo Bills vs. Atlanta Falcons Prediction

Atlanta has alternated wins and losses for the last six weeks. Optimists will be encouraged by the Falcons’ winning 6-5 record after a 1-3 start, while doubters will say that five of their seven wins have come against last-place teams. One bright spot for the Falcons is Kyle Pitts, who became the second-ever rookie tight end with at least 900 receiving yards. In addition, quarterback Matt Ryan tied Eli Manning for ninth on the all-time passing touchdowns list with 366. However, he has thrown one or fewer touchdowns in seven consecutive games.

Though Buffalo enters at 9-6 on the season, they have shown their dominance in all nine wins, as they have all come by double digits. That trend continued last week with their 33-21 road win over the Patriots, which was just their fourth win in Foxborough in the last 21 tries. Buffalo has now won consecutive games in New England for the first time since 1999-2000. The Bills own the division record tiebreaker over the Patriots and would be AFC East champions with a win this week and next week against the Jets.

Josh Allen was spectacular last week, as he had his third game of the season with at least three passing touchdowns and no interceptions. It was also Allen’s first game since Week 8 without a turnover, and the Bills are 4-0 in games this season when Allen does not turn the ball over. Turnovers should not be an issue against a Falcons defense tied for 20th with 17 takeaways.

In backing Buffalo, one must worry about a hangover effect after an emotional road win in their biggest game of the season to that point. Keep in mind, the game after Buffalo lost to New England four weeks ago, they laid an egg in the first half against Tampa Bay and trailed 24-3 after 30 minutes. However, the Bills have looked like a different team since then and had an opportunity to beat Tampa Bay in the second half despite trailing by 21 points. Without two key receivers last week (Cole Beasley, Gabriel Davis), Isaiah McKenzie stepped up in a big way with 11 receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown. McKenzie had entered Week 16 with 38 yds and zero touchdowns all season.

However, these Falcons are not the explosive Buccaneers, and they do not have the offensive firepower to hang with the Bills. Running back/wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson was a revelation for the Falcons early in the season, and he still has four touchdowns in the last six games. However, his explosiveness is all but gone, as he has not caught more than three passes in a game since early November and has averaged three yards a carry or less in every game since December 5th. Without Patterson’s dual-threat ability running and catching passes out of the backfield, there are not enough offensive weapons to take attention away from Kyle Pitts. 

Atlanta has feasted on poor teams but is 0-4 ATS against teams with a winning record. Conversely, Buffalo is 7-1-1 ATS against teams with a losing record, and head coach Sean McDermott will be determined to have his team continue its positive momentum this week. As a result, look for Buffalo to win their tenth game by double digits and cover the 14.5-point spread in the process.

Bills vs. Falcons Pick

Buffalo Bills vs. Atlanta Falcons Line Movement

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Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest

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