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.
Sunday, Sept. 26, 1 p.m.
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.
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.
From Thursday's practice report
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.
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.
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.