After Tough Loss to Jets, Patriots Getting Exactly What They Need in Visit From Bills

After Tough Loss to Jets, Patriots Getting Exactly What They Need in Visit From Bills The Patriots should send a thank you note to the league's schedule makers for shipping the Bills to New England this week.

After a hard loss to the Jets, the Pats (1-1, 0-1 AFC East) will welcome the beatable Bills (0-2, 0-1), who figure to be in contention for the first overall pick in the 2011 draft.

The Patriots have won 13 consecutive games against the Bills, and
they've won those games by an average of 18 points. The Pats also have a
nine-game winning streak at home in the series.

WHEN AND WHERE

Sunday, Sept. 26, 1 p.m.
Gillette Stadium

HEAD TO HEAD

The Patriots are 59-40-1 all-time against the Bills, including a 31-9 mark at home and an 8-0 record at Gillette.

The Patriots' 59 victories are their most over any one opponent.

KEY MATCHUP

The Patriots' defense has to contain Buffalo's three running backs — Marshawn Lynch, Fred Jackson and rookie C.J. Spiller – to neutralize the Bills' offense. Lynch has rushed 42 times for 145 yards (3.5 yards per carry) and one touchdown in three games against the Patriots. Jackson is a dual threat, recording 64 rushes for 302 yards (4.7 average) and 14 catches for 135 yards and one touchdown in five games against the Pats. Spiller has gotten off to a rough start, but he's a speedy outside back who can do similar things as Jackson.

The Pats have to stop the three backs from having a good day on the ground, but maybe more importantly, they've got to make sure quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn’t burn them with screens and dump-offs. If the Patriots can take away Fitzpatrick's easy targets, the Bills will have an excruciatingly difficult time trying to move the ball.

STAT SHEET

Patriots

  • Quarterback Tom Brady is 15-1 in his career against the Bills, and he has completed 318 of 487 passes (65.3 percent) for 3,713 yards, 33 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
  • The Patriots are 43-14 against the AFC East since 2001. The Jets (28-29) have the second-best record in the division over that span.
  • Wide receiver Wes Welker has caught at least one pass in 65 consecutive games, dating back to December 2005. Welker has an NFL-high 360 receptions since 2007, and he is the first player to ever catch 300 passes in his first 40 games with a new team.
  • Wide receiver Randy Moss has 149 receiving touchdowns in his career. Jerry Rice (197) is the only player in NFL history to reach 150 receiving touchdowns.
  • Safety Patrick Chung leads the Patriots with 23 total tackles and 14 solo tackles, and he is tied for the team lead with nine assisted tackles.
  • Wide receiver Matthew Slater has a team-best four total tackles on special teams.
  • No one on the Patriots has registered multiple pass defenses this season.

Bills

  • The Bills are last in the NFL in points scored (17) and point differential (-32).
  • Ninth overall draft pick C.J. Spiller leads the Bills with eight receptions, but he is fourth on the team with 31 receiving yards. On the ground, Spiller has eight carries for nine yards.
  • Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 17 of 25 passes (68 percent) for 178 yards, one touchdown and one interception in last season's 17-10 loss to the Patriots. He was also sacked four times.
  • Wide receiver Roscoe Parrish has three career punt returns for touchdowns, which is tied for the franchise record.
  • Linebacker Chris Kelsay needs 3.5 sacks to tie Fred Smerlas for 10th on the team's all-time list.

INFIRMARY REPORT

From Thursday's practice report

Patriots
Offensive lineman Nick Kaczur (back) did not practice and will not play.
Cornerback Terrence Wheatley (foot) did not practice and is unlikely to play.
Wide receiver Julian Edelman (foot) had limited participation and will likely play.
Running back Fred Taylor (to) had limited participation and will likely play.
Wide receiver Taylor Price (ankle) had limited participation and will likely be available to play.
Quarterback Tom Brady (right shoulder) fully participated and will play.

Bills
Linebacker Paul Posluszny (knee) did not practice and is unlikely to play.
Linebacker Keith Ellison (knee) had limited participation and will likely play.
Guard Andy Levitre (neck) had limited participation and is questionable.
Safety Cary Harris (hamstring) fully participated and will likely play.

OUTLOOK

The Patriots should cruise past the Bills this weekend and get themselves back on track after a tough loss. The Bills have some dangerous players in their offensive and defensive backfields, and they're also a tricky group on special teams. However, the sum of the Bills' parts isn’t all that great, and they're still a team trying to rebuild.

New England should win handily.

Yardbarker

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