Buffalo (8-3) vs San Francisco (5-6)
When: Monday, December 7th, 2020
Where: State Farm Stadium,
Time: 8:15 ET | TV: ESPN
Opening Odds: Buffalo -2.5/48
The defending NFC Champions have been through a lot this year, and now they’ve been forced out of their own city for at least the next two weeks. The San Francisco 49ers will “host” the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football from Glendale, Arizona this week at State Farm Stadium. Due to new Covid restrictions in Santa Clara County, the 49ers will practice and play their next two home games in Glendale including next week’s versus the Dallas Cowboys. The 49ers and Arizona Cardinals will meet at State Farm Stadium, as originally scheduled, on Dec. 26. The last time the 49ers participated in a neutral-site game, it was at Wembley Stadium in London in 2013, a game they won 42-10 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. San Fran has already lost twice as many games as last regular season, when they shared the top record in the NFC at 13-3. Last week’s 23-20 road win over the Los Angeles Rams snapped a three-game skid and kept them alive in the postseason race. The 49ers returned wide receiver Deebo Samuel and running back Raheem Mostert from injuries against the Rams, and will see the return of wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (Covid) this week. The 49ers will take the field in search of their 50th win on a Monday in their history. No NFL franchise has reached 50, although the Pittsburgh Steelers also have a chance on Monday when they host the Washington Football Team. The Bills enter the contest having won four of five, with the lone loss, coincidentally, having come at Arizona in Week 10, a dramatic 32-30 defeat to the Cardinals. Buffalo is coming off a 27-17 over the L.A. Chargers behind a running and a passing touchdown from Josh Allen and a trick-play score on a 20-yard pass from Cole Beasley. The win was Buffalo’s eighth in its first 11 games, the same mark the team had at this point a year ago. Last year, the team slumped to a 2-3 finish and missed the playoffs.
Buffalo and San Francisco haven’t gone head-to-head since 2016 and the last two meetings have been blowouts. The Bills took the most recent one, 45-16 in 2016 and the Niners won 45-3 four years prior. Not a lot of history between these franchises. The all-time series stands at 6-6. The Bills were favored early in the week, but it’s now San Francisco who are 1-point favorites as of Sunday night. Buffalo has fared well in recent history against NFC foes, covering each of its previous five games. The 49ers have covered just one of their previous five “home” games, but are an impressive 8-3 against the spread (ATS) in their last 11 versus the AFC. The Bills are 8-3 to the Over in their last 11 games and have a 4-1 O/U mark in their last five games away from home, while San Francisco has converted the Under in four of its past six games.
Wide receiver Stefon Diggs has proven to be a huge new asset for Josh Allen. Diggs ranks among the NFL leaders with 945 receiving yards on the season, but has found the end zone just four times – twice in the last eight games. After losing to the Arizona Cardinals on a Hail Mary in Week 10, the Bills got through a bye and defeated the Chargers at home behind Allen’s 18-of-24 passing and 157 passing yards. He also threw a touchdown and interception and rushed for a score. Devin Singletary led the backfield with 82 rushing yards on just 11 carries. Buffalo’s offense is averaging 27.2 points and 372.5 total yards per game. The team is also second in the NFL in third-down conversions and tops in fourth-down conversions. Defensively, Buffalo is in the bottom-half in most categories including 25th against the run (129.6). The Bills will host the Pittsburgh Steelers next Sunday night.
Playing outside of Levi’s Stadium might actually be a blessing for the 49ers, who are 1-4 SU and ATS so far this year at home, having failed to score more than 24 points in any home game. In San Francisco’s road win over the Rams last week, Mostert and Samuel made triumphant returns. Mostert had 43 rushing yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, while Samuel caught 11 passes for 133 receiving yards. Despite all the injuries, the offense ranks 14th overall (362.9) and 12th in passing at 250.9 yards a game. The defense has kept the team in most games, ranking 11th in points allowed (23.1), fourth versus the pass (206.5) and sixth overall (315.2). They have held three opponents under 14 points, but have also surrendered 34 or more more three times.
The 49ers are getting healthy, but this is still a team with issues and the Bills get the benefit of not having to play a true road game. Allen has been terrific this season – thanks to Diggs – and I can see Buffalo putting up some points here. I’ll go against the public and the sharps in this one.
Pick: Bills +1
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