Preview Week 3 : Patriots vs Bills

The (2-0) New England Patriots host the (0-2) Buffalo Bills today at Gillette Stadium. Game preview, a look at the key stats for the game and more.

Buffalo Bills (0-2) at New England Patriots (2-0)
Sunday, September 23, 2007, 1:00pm (EDT)

TV: CBS (Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon); DIRECTV channels 712 and 726 (HD)

Radio: New England regional: WBCN (104.1); Buffalo regional: WGRF (96.9 FM) and WEDG (103.3 FM); National: Sports USA Radio Network; SIRIUS channels 122 and 127

Series: Patriots lead 53-40-1

Weather: Foxboro, Ma
Location:
Gillette Stadium

Last meetings: New England won both meetings with the Bills last season, 19-7 in their home opener (September 10, 2006) and 28-6 in Buffalo (October 22, 2006).

Last week: The New England Patriots beat the San Diego Chargers 38-14. Tom Brady threw for 279 yards and 3 touchdowns, Randy Moss had 105 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns, Rosevelt Colvin had 2 sacks, 1 interception, and 2 forced fumbles, and Adalius Thomas had an interception return for a touchdown.

The Buffalo Bills lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 26-3. J.P. Losman was held to just 154 yards passing (15-25), while rookie running back Marshawn Lynch had 64 yards rushing on 18 carries. The Buffalo defense had one sack and one interception of Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

The Patriots put the week's controversy behind them, dismantling the Chargers on Sunday Night Football. The offense once again marched up and down the field thanks to their solid offensive line and Tom Brady's right arm. The defense forced 4 turnovers and held reigning league MVP LaDainian Tomlinson to just 43 yards on 18 carries.

The Bills fell to 0-2, and although they held the Steelers to field goals in the first half, Pittsburgh had 4 of them by halftime and a 12-0 lead.

This will be the second division game for the Patriots this season (following their opening week 38-14 win over the Jets). It could also be a potential letdown game following the huge win over the Chargers and a Monday night road game in Cincinnati on the horizon. The Patriots will need the same focus they showed last week to ensure that the winning streak continues.

2007 season statistics

New England on offense: Yards per game 419.0 (2); Rushing 139.0 (8); Passing 280.0 (4)
New England on defense: Yards per game 214.0 (1); Rushing 56.0 (1); Passing 158.0 (5)
Buffalo on offense: Yards per game 203.5 (31); Rushing 107.0 (18); Passing 96.5 (32)
Buffalo on defense: Yards per game 445.0 (31); Rushing 177.5 (30); Passing 267.5 (27)

Notes: The Patriots have won 12 of their last 13 games (and seven in a row) against the Bills…New England is trying to begin a season 3-0 for the first time since 2004, their last Super Bowl-winning season…The Bills are #1 in the NFL in punt return average (44.0)… Brady is 11-1 against the Bills with 21 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions. ... Bills DE Aaron Schobel has 65.5 career sacks, tied with Phil Hansen for second most in franchise history behind Bruce Smith's 171.

Key Injuries: Bills: CB Ashton Youboty (hip) is expected to play; DE Ryan Denney (ankle) is out; WR Josh Reed (thigh) returned to practice and will play. Patriots: DE Richard Seymour (knee) will miss at least the first six games.

PERSONNEL NEWS (from scout.com):

Bills:
--QB J.P. Losman has never beaten New England in three tries. He is 42 of 77 for 542 yards with one touchdown, five interceptions and a 54.1 rating. He has never topped 200 yards passing against the Patriots' complicated and hard-to-predict schemes and blitz packages.
--RB Marshawn Lynch leads AFC rookies in rushing with 154 yards on 37 attempts, a strong 4.2 average.
--WR Roscoe Parrish's six catches last week against Pittsburgh tied a career high. He also had six against Baltimore last season. Parrish, who is averaging 10.1 yards per catch, is dangerous in the open field but teams have done a good job limiting his damage with jams at the line and big hits on the diminutive target.
--LB Paul Posluszny, a rookie out of Penn State, ranks third in the NFL in tackles through two games with 22. Tampa Bay's Barrett Rudd (24) and Miami's Zach Thomas (23) are first and second.
--FS Jim Leonhard, playing in place of Ko Simpson, who is out for the season with a broken ankle, is tied for first in the NFL with two interceptions. He made a fine play on a deep ball last week in Pittsburgh, making a good sight adjustment and leaping catch. His instincts will be tested on Sunday providing help deep against Randy Moss.

Patriots:
--CB Ellis Hobbs had an Iowa State jersey hanging in his locker. The former Cyclone said Bill Belichick let him wear his old Iowa State uniform at practice last week to help get his alma mater back on track. It worked. The Cyclones upset in-state rival Iowa, 15-13, last Saturday.
--TE Kyle Brady (team decision) had limited participation in practice on Thursday. Because of his age, the team is most likely just being cautious with Brady and giving him a day off.
--WR Randy Moss (team decision) had limited participation in practice on Thursday. This is the third Thursday in a row that Moss has missed practice because of a "team decision," meaning he's most likely just getting some time off.
--WR Donte' Stallworth (knee) had limited participation in practice on Thursday. Stallworth is a new addition to the Patriots injury report.
--S Eugene Wilson (ankle) and OL Billy Yates (shoulder) had limited participation in practice on Thursday. Both players missed practice entirely on Wednesday, so this is an encouraging sign for the team.
--G Stephen Neal (shoulder) had limited participation in practice on Thursday. Neal missed last week's game against the Jets with a shoulder injury.


Darren is a regular contributor to Patriots Insider. You can find him in the forums under the name: DestinationSuperBowl. You can also find archives of his columns on the Insiders by searching for "Darren Kelly"

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