Preview: Buffalo Bills - New England Patriots

The Buffalo Bills host the unbeated New England Patriots Sunday Night at Orchard Park on national television. The (5-4) Bills hope to knock the (9-0) Patiots from the ranks of the unbeaten.

New England Patriots (9-0) at Buffalo Bills (4-5)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 8:15 ET
GAMEDATE: 11/18/07
LOCATION: Ralph Wilson Stadium
SURFACE: AstroPlay
WEATHER: Orchard Park, NY
TV:
NBC, Al Michaels, John Madden, Andrea Kremer

SERIES: 96th meeting. Patriots lead, 54-40-1. New England's 54 wins are its most against any opponent. The Patriots have owned the series since 2000, winning 13 of the last 14 meetings, including eight games in a row. From 1999 to 2001, the clubs went to overtime four times in six meetings, each team winning a pair.

PREDICTION: Patriots 33-17

KEYS TO THE GAME: Brady torched the Bills in the first meeting and should again have his way even with Buffalo's back four playing far better entering the rematch. Although one of the Patriots' goals coming out of their bye week is to get more consistent production out of RB Laurence Maroney, the Bills have a league-low nine sacks and have no shot unless they pressure Brady into a few mistakes. ... This is the wrong game for the Bills to potentially be without workhorse RB Marshawn Lynch. Fellow rookie Dwayne Wright, Anthony Thomas and Fred Jackson will share the rushing duty, but that trio isn't likely to dent New England's No. 4-ranked run defense. QB J.P. Losman will get at least one more start, and somehow must hook up for a few big plays to Evans even though that's the first thing the Patriots will try to take away.

KEY INJURIES: Patriots: S Eugene Wilson (ankle) is uncertain. Bills: Lynch (ankle sprain) is unlikely to play.

FAST FACTS: This is the fourth consecutive year the Patriots have played the Bills coming off their bye week, and they have won the previous three by a combined 50 points. ... Losman is the first Bill since Jim Kelly in 1990 with consecutive fourth-quarter comeback victories.

Quick Hits

Patriots:
--LB Eric Alexander (knee) didn't participate in Friday's practice. Alexander has missed the Patriots' last five games and isn't expected to play this week.
--S Eugene Wilson (ankle) didn't participate in Friday's practice. If Wilson isn't able to go, James Sanders will start at safety alongside Rodney Harrison.
--WR Wes Welker (team decision) had limited participation during Friday's practice. Welker is expected to start this week against Buffalo.
--LB Mike Vrabel (team decision) had limited participation during Friday's practice. Vrabel is expected to start Sunday against Buffalo.
--G Stephen Neal (shoulder) had limited participation in Friday's practice. Neal has been battling a bad shoulder all year but he's expected to be in the starting lineup when New England travels to Buffalo.
--RB Laurence Maroney is now fully recovered from a groin injury that sidelined him earlier in the year. Look for Maroney to get more carries starting this week against the Bills and as the season moves forward.

Bills:
--RB Marshawn Lynch (ankle sprain) did not practice for a third straight day and the team remains pessimistic that he'll be ready for Sunday's showdown with New England. He is expected to test the ankle in pre-game warm-ups.
--DE Aaron Schobel, who missed Wednesday's practice with a stomach illness, was back at practice Thursday and is "Probable" for Sunday's game.
--TE Robert Royal continues to take it slow after suffering a concussion last week against Miami but did practice on a limited basis. He remains a game-time decision. He was listed as probable on Friday's injury report.
--QB J.P. Losman is 0-4 in career starts against New England with one TD pass, four interceptions and seven sacks.
--WR Lee Evans caught just one pass in this season's first meeting with the Patriots.
--CB Jabari Greer will draw a lot of assignments on New England wide receiver Randy Moss on Sunday. Moss burned him for two scores in September's 38-7 Patriots win and finished with five catches for 115 yards.
--SS Donte Whitner needs a big game Sunday against New England, not only against TE Ben Watson, who has five TD catches, but also against a strong Patriots' running game averaging 132.3 yards per game.

More:
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Official Game Thread: Patriots vs Bills (Pats site)
Game Thread Pats vs Bills (Bills Site)

 


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