New England Patriots (2-0) at Buffalo Bills (2-0)
KICKOFF: Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET
WEATHER: Local Forecast
STADIUM: Ralph Wilson Stadium
SURFACE: A-Turf Titan
TV: CBS, Kenny Albert, Rich Gannon
PREDICTION: Patriots 38-23
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Patriots have won 15
consecutive games over the Bills and QB Tom Brady looks
That's nothing new to the Bills -- Brady is 17-2 against them -- and
seeking a third straight 400-yard passing game. Even if TE Aaron Hernandez
(knee) is out, Brady has three other receivers with 10-plus
catches. The Bills can slow the pace with the NFL's leading rusher,
but QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
won't be flustered if the Bills
fall behind. His receivers are capable of gouging a Patriots secondary
dogged by injury. Fitzpatrick's favorite target has been TE Scott Chandler, a
hulk in the red zone, though WRs Steve
Johnson and David
Nelson have better matchups.
FAST FACTS: The Bills have outscored their opponents
56-14 in the second half. ... The Patriots have six receivers with a
reception of at least 30 yards.
INSIDE THE CAMPS
Wilfork certainly wouldn't fall
under the category of unappreciated players on New England's roster,
but he's gained more notoriety this week after recording his first
career interception -- and return -- Sunday against the Chargers.
"When I go places, the first thing people want to
talk about was that play," Wilfork said. "I have some people telling
me, 'That's the greatest play they've ever seen,' and they're 60 years
old, so I'm like, 'They've been around for a long time. I'm pretty sure
they've seen a lot of football, so to rank that one of the best they've
seen, that's an honor.'
"As a player, you play so many years, you play so
many times -- I can't tell you how many times I've put my hand down in
the dirt and the last thing I'm thinking about is an interception or a
fumble recovery. (The) only thing you think about is doing your job."
Wilfork actually considered the play a "steal."
The interception and subsequent return helped set
up a field goal before the end of the first half, which widened the
Patriots' lead going into the break.
"There's going to be certain plays in the game
that you can steal. That's just the nature of the beast," he said. "I
was just lucky to actually steal one, and that was one of things that
gave us the momentum going into halftime."
Once the team's flight lands Saturday in Buffalo,
it'll be all business again for Wilfork, who is ready to put the past
behind him and focus on beating the undefeated Bills at Ralph Wilson
"A lot of people Tweeted me about it -- people
that I'm not in contact with, but they sent a Tweet just congratulating
me and everything. It's been cool," Wilfork said. "I know I can't live
on that play forever. I have to turn the (page). It's a good week to
turn, because with Buffalo, they're playing some good football."
Call it the Tom Brady Curse.
The Bills are dealing with it once more as they
prepare to take on the star New England Patriots quarterback, who since
2001 is 17-1 in 18 starts against Buffalo.
In those 17 games his New England team has won,
it's been by an average score of 30-12. Counting two games in 2008 that
Brady missed with a knee injury, his Patriots still beat Buffalo (with
Matt Cassel) and the Patriots are now riding a 15-game winning streak
over their AFC East division "rival."
Brady is off to another torrid start, throwing for
seven touchdowns and nearly 1,000 yards in just two games.
"I see him controlling every aspect of the game
right now," Bills coach Chan Gailey said. "He controls the tempo, the
protections, the routes. He checks at the right time. You can see all
the years of experience and all the years of that group working
together coming together now."
So how do the Bills possibly stop Brady?
Generating a pass rush to force him into mistakes
is one way. Running the ball on offense and limiting his opportunities
with the ball is another.
When watching film of Brady, it's difficult for
the Bills not to admire him just from a pure football point of view.
"He knows the game so well, he's seen everything,
he can make every single throw," marveled safety Bryan Scott.
"Sometimes when you're watching film he looks so comfortable back there
reading the defense, he'll go through his progressions two or three
times before he decides where he wants to go. We have to make him
uncomfortable ... and you have to do it with a four-man rush because if
he knows the blitz is coming, he'll pick you apart."
Edds, who was claimed off waivers from
Miami earlier this month, was waived Thursday.
Tarpinian was signed off the practice
squad Thursday and added to the 53-man roster.
Wright was not at practice Thursday,
which means he'll more than likely be out of the lineup Sunday against
--TE Dan Gronkowski was not at practice Thursday,
though there's no word on his availability Sunday. The Patriots listed
him as "limited" in practice due to a hamstring injury.
--S Patrick Chung was out of practice again
Thursday and reportedly had surgery this week after injuring his thumb
against the Chargers. There's no word on whether or not he'll be
--QB Tom Brady extended his NFL record with his
29th consecutive regular-season win at home Sunday. The last time the
Patriots lost a regular-season home game in which Brady started was in
--NT Vince Wilfork became the 14th defensive
lineman in team history to intercept a pass Sunday and the first since
--DT Albert Haynesworth (back) didn't do any
on-field work during Thursday's practice.
Arrington (concussion) was upgraded
Thursday to limited participation in practice after not practicing
--WR Stevie Johnson, who is nursing a groin
injury, practiced fully. That's good news for a Buffalo receiving corps
already without Roscoe
Parrish, who went on IR this week with an ankle
Johnson practiced fully in
preparation for Sunday's game with New England. He has a hip problem
that forced him to sit out Wednesday. The Bills need his presence in a
pass-rush rotation against Tom Brady.
--NT Torell Troup, who has missed both games so
far with a bad back, practiced fully for a second consecutive game. He
plans to play Sunday against the Patriots but will need to test himself
McGee is out for the Patriots game
with a hamstring injury. He could miss at least one more week.
Morrison is nursing a hamstring problem.
He's questionable for Sunday.
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