Pregame Notes: New England Patriots vs the Buffalo Bills
Upon their unlikely dominating performance against the St. Louis Rams last week, the Patriots continue to lead the AFC East with a 7-1 record, one better than the New York Jets. One of those seven wins came against the Buffalo Bills in week 4.
The Bills defense has been improving weekly, and directly impacting the results of their season. The Bills Defense is ranked 3rd overall, with a 268.1 ypg avg. Conversely, their Offense has also been improving with the emergence of Willis McGahee who has helped the Bills improve from the bottom 3 of the NFL to 26th overall. Should the offensive line play of the Bills improve, McGahee will certainly be a factor in the game.
McGahee has averaged 115ypg in each of his three starts. The Bills have won each game.
The Patriots on the other hand have average statistical ranking, yet continue to find ways to out score their opponents. With a 14th ranked offense, and a 19th ranked defense, the Patriots manage to score in the critical situations and have one of the more creative play calling coordinators in the NFL on offense, Charlie Weiss.
The Patriots Offensive line continues to be a concern after OT, Tom Ashworth was placed on IR. OL Brandin Gorin will be called upon for a third straight week to pick up the line duties and actually fared well enough last week to allow Brady time to find his receivers. The line will be tested again this week, as the Rams defense was only ranked in the bottom 5 of the NFL.
Notes of Interest:
- The Patriots have won eight straight games against AFC East opponents.
- The Patriots are 17-3 in their last 20 divisional games.
- The superbowl champions have not lost to an AFC East opponent since the 2003 season opener and have defeated each of their divisional foes once so far this season.
- Tom Brady had his second highest passer rating of his career against the Bills on Nov. 3, 2002(147.6).
- This will be the sixth time Buffalo Bills QB, Drew Bledsoe will start against his former team.
- Since 1972, the Patriots and Bills have played in 19 games decided by three points or less.
- 6 of the last 13 games in the series have been decided by four points or less.
While Bill Belichick was the head coach at Cleveland, one of his hires for the LB position coach was Don Blackmon. Blackmon is currently the linebackers coach for Buffalo. Blackmon also played for the Patriots for eight seasons (1981-1987).
Bills defensive tackle Sam Adams father, Sam Adams,Sr., played for the Patriots for nine seasons (1972-1980).
Bills quarterback Drew Bledsoe was drafted by the Patriots in the first round (1st overall) in the 1993 NFL draft. He played for New England for nine seasons.
Bills safety Lawyer Milloy was drafted by the Patriots in the second round (36th overall) in the 1996 NFL draft. He played in 112 games in eight seasons in New England and
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Patriots (7-1) Vs Bills
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is the X-factor
surprise: Patriots No. 1
The two Pennsylvania teams are a combined 14-2. Jacksonville is 5-3 and
the other two Super Bowl-winning Florida teams (Miami and Tampa Bay) are
a combined 4-13. Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs and future Hall
of Famer Bill Parcells are a combined 6-10. 2003 bust Drew Brees has played
much better than 2004 preseason cover boy Michael Vick. A rookie quarterback
is 6-0. Tiki Barber leads the league in yards from scrimmage and hasn't
lost a fumble. The defending NFC champion is 1-7
sets sights on hauling in big catch
If that really is the measuring stick, then the current setup with wide receiver David Givens is not a good one.
This season, the third-year wide receiver is making $380,000. Givens
says he's "fortunate and blessed" to make such a wage and he
isn't soliciting sympathy. But he's also aware that his pay is not commensurate
with either the services he's rendering or that of his peers.
Meets Road for Bills v. Pats in Primetime
Acting Like Prime-time Players
"What I'm excited about is I think our guys are into it right now,"
Mularkey said. "We've had a lot of energy this week. We've had good
thinking what if ...
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