GAME PREDICTIONS

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Game Predictions | Bills vs. Bears | Week 16

Buffalo Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson (90) - Buffalo Bills vs Chicago Bears at New Era Field, November 4, 2018. Photo by Bill Wippert
Buffalo Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson (90) - Buffalo Bills vs Chicago Bears at New Era Field, November 4, 2018. Photo by Bill Wippert

The Bills are 8.0 point favorites this week according to Caesars Sportsbook as the team prepares to face the Chicago Bears in Soldier Field.

The Bills can clinch their third consecutive AFC East title with a win this week. The team is also 17-8 vs. NFC teams since 2017, Sean McDermott's first season in Buffalo.

Here's a list of game predictions from NFL analysts.

The Bills being favored by more than a touchdown seems like too much, considering how the Bears' defense -- healthier after the team's late bye week -- played with better purpose against the Eagles last Sunday. The expected brutal-cold temperatures could be an equalizer here. Buffalo's defensive line needs to show it can slow a physical running game, which Chicago possesses, especially with the return of Khalil Herbert.

Prediction: Bills 27, Bears 20

Bills (-9) at Bears

MDS's take: Justin Fields will make some big plays with his legs to keep the Bears competitive, but Josh Allen will make plays with both his arm and his legs to win it for the Bills.

MDS's pick: Bills 27, Bears 20.

Florio's take: The weather could make things interesting in Chicago, but Josh Allen can still sling it in any conditions. Still, nine points is a lot to give, given the conditions. And given the ability of Justin Fields to run circles around anyone and everyone.

Florio's pick: Bills 30, Bears 24.

There's a certain volatility that should be expected from the Bills. But if we zoom out, this team is 11-3 and is currently the no. 1 seed in the AFC. Their +135 point differential is second in the NFL. They haven't lost a game by more than three points. And their three losses have come by a combined eight points. Bottom line: It hasn't always looked pretty, but the Bills are pretty much exactly where everyone expected them to be before the season.

As for the Bears, last week was the full Justin Fields experience. He made some spectacular plays. He missed some routine throws. And the fact that he doesn't have much around him was glaring from start to finish during a loss to the Eagles.

Having said that, the Bears defense—and specifically their secondary—was feisty and competitive. I don't expect Chicago to pull off the upset here, but I do think they can keep it relatively close.

The pick: Bears (+8.5)

What to watch for: Bills quarterback Josh Allen and wide receiver Stefon Diggs are close to statistical milestones in Week 16, with Allen 143 yards away from his third straight season with 4,000 passing yards and Diggs just one yard away from recording the sixth 1,300 receiving yard season in franchise history. Meanwhile, Chicago's seven-game losing streak is the second longest in the NFL. With one more loss, the Bears will tie their longest streak in team history at eight (2002). -- Courtney Cronin

Bold prediction: The Bears will rush for more than 187 yards, the team's league-leading average per game, despite the Bills giving up an average of 106.1 rushing yards (sixth fewest). The Bills will be putting an emphasis on stopping the run after the Dolphins ran for 188 yards -- the first time Buffalo has allowed over 100 yards since Week 10. But with a high around 10 degrees expected, and two Bills defensive tackles -- Ed Oliver and Jordan Phillips -- questionable for the game, there should be opportunities for the Bears' rushing attack. -- Alaina Getzenberg

Stat to know: Allen has thrown for 3,857 passing yards this season and is seeking his third straight season with 4,000 passing yards. The only other 4,000-yard season in Bills history is by Drew Bledsoe in 2002.

What's at stake: The Bills clinched a playoff spot last week and can now take home the AFC East title with a win/tie or a Dolphins loss/tie. And per ESPN's FPI, they have a 56% chance to get the No. 1 seed in the AFC (hold head-to-head tiebreaker over KC). A win pushes that to 63%, while a loss drops it to 22%. The Bears are eliminated and currently slotted at No. 2 in the projected draft order (14% chance to take the top spot).

Betting nugget: All seven Buffalo road games have gone under the total.

Moody's pick: Bills 30, Bears 20

Walder's pick: Bears 24, Bills 23

The Bills are trying to lock up the top seed in the AFC playoffs, while the Bears are playing out the string. But the Bills play the Bengals next week after beating the Dolphins. This looks like a sandwich game. It won't be. Josh Allen will put up a ton of points for the Bills as they keep rolling.

Pick: Bills 37, Bears 21

The Bears put the Eagles to the test last week. Quarterback Justin Fields put up 95 rushing yards, and the defense intercepted Jalen Hurts twice and prevented him from throwing a touchdown for the first time since Week 5. They easily covered the 8.5-point spread against Philadelphia's weak rushing defense. The offensive line struggled to protect Fields, however, allowing him to be sacked six times. This week, Chicago faces the Bills, who have the third-best rushing defense in the league. It's going to be 3 degrees with 20 m.p.h. winds on Saturday, but the Bills are no strangers to the cold. The Bears would be wise to let Fields take it easy and plan for the future.

Pick: Bills -8.5

The Bears just struggled with the strong running and downfield passing with Jalen Hurts. They stayed in the game against the Eagles with plenty of Justin Fields and the running game, which is where to work on Buffalo. The Bills, like the Eagles, may be looking ahead to a bigger matchup the following week, when they travel to Cincinnati. Josh Allen does his thing, but his team grinds with field goals late and leaves the back door open.

Pick: Bills win 27-20 but fail to cover the spread.

The Bills are heavy favorites at home against the Bears. Chicago quarterback Justin Fields will make a few plays, but the trouble spot in the defense – which hasn't produced a turnover in the Bears' last four home losses. That will not work against Josh Allen – who will keep Buffalo in the No. 1 seed in the AFC. The Bills are 1-4 ATS in their last five games when favored by more than seven points.

Pick: Bills 30, Bears 20

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