1:00 PM ET, September 23, 2007
Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA
With controversy still looming over their franchise, the New England Patriots continue to look like the best team in the NFL.
The Patriots will try for a third straight dominating performance and an eighth consecutive victory over the struggling Buffalo Bills on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
Receiver Randy Moss and linebacker Adalius Thomas were among many major acquisitions in the offseason which made New England (2-0) a Super Bowl favorite. The Patriots have lived up to that hype so far after beating both the New York Jets and another title contender in San Diego by 38-14 scores.
Last Sunday's victory over the Chargers came with controversy surrounding coach Bill Belichick and the team's involvement in using a video camera on the sidelines in the season opener against the Jets. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell fined Belichick $500,000 and the team $250,000 for violating a league ruling regarding such action. New England also must forfeit a first-round draft pick in 2008 if it makes the playoffs or a second- and third-round pick if it doesn't.
On Monday, Belichick, who has spoke little about the situation, said he will comply with the NFL's request to provide notes or tapes made from any other game-day video recordings.
"Right now we're moving on to Buffalo. That's what is important to this football team, getting ready for the Buffalo Bills," said Belichick, who is 12-3 against the Bills. "They're a division team and it's a big game coming up."
New England hasn't lost to Buffalo (0-2) since a 31-0 defeat on Sept. 7, 2003, and has won six straight home games over the Bills, who have been outscored 41-17 and have one offensive touchdown in 2007.
Last Sunday, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was 25-of-31 for 279 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.
"After everything that went on this week, we wanted to do our best for (Belichick),? said Brady, the NFL leader in completion percentage (79.7) and passer rating (134.2).
Brady now looks to improve to 7-0 against the Bills at home. He threw for 358 yards and four touchdowns in two wins over them last season, including a 28-6 victory on Oct. 22 in the teams' most recent meeting.
Moss will try for his third straight 100-yard receiving game Sunday after catching eight passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns against the Chargers. He's tied for the NFL lead with 17 receptions and has three TDs.
Moss has 19 catches for 264 yards and three touchdowns in three games against Buffalo.
New England boasts the league's top defensive unit, allowing 214.0 yards per game. The Patriots forced three turnovers versus San Diego, highlighted by Thomas' 65-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Rosevelt Colvin had two sacks and an interception to lead a defense that held San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson to 43 yards on 18 carries. Linebacker Mike Vrabel had a sack, giving him a league-leading 3 1/2.
The Bills, meanwhile, have been decimated by injuries on defense while struggling offensively in their first two games. Buffalo's 407 total yards are ahead of only San Francisco (380) for fewest in the NFL.
Buffalo had 223 in a 26-3 loss at Pittsburgh last Sunday in its first game since reserve tight end Kevin Everett sustained a life-threatening spinal cord injury in its season-opening loss to Denver.
"Any time you start off 0-2, any time you only score three points in a game, something's happening,? quarterback J.P. Losman said. "And together, as a team, we have to get better."
Losman, who has a 68.3 passer rating, said after Sunday's loss the coaches need to "open (the offense) up a little bit more in the beginning.?
"We needed to perform better,? Bills coach Dick Jauron said. "Whether it was the game plan as such, I don't know. When it goes wrong, it's just wrong. The blame lies in my lap and I'll take it.?
Losman will try to beat New England for the first time as a starter. He's 0-3 against the Patriots, throwing five interceptions and one touchdown pass in four games against them. He was sacked for a late safety in the Bills' 19-17 loss on Sept. 10, 2006 in their most recent visit to Foxborough.
Running back Marshawn Lynch, though, has been a bright spot for Buffalo, leading all AFC rookies with 154 yards on 37 carries and scoring the team's lone offensive touchdown.
Buffalo has lost 12 of its last 13 games to New England and hasn't won at Foxborough since a 16-13 victory on Nov. 5, 2000.
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Brady and the passing game will dominate the Bills' secondary
This is an important AFC East divisional contest that could put the Bills behind the eight ball and further the Patriots' lead in the division. New England has dominated its first two games and it would appear that Buffalo is fighting with a short stick, though this may be a more competitive game than one would think because the Bills have their backs against the wall. Look for head coach Dick Jauron to have his troops ready after playing the Patriots well at Foxboro in 2006. However, Bill Belichick may have his best Patriots team to date and appears to be on a mission.
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New England Patriots
|Avg Points Allowed||26.3||11.7|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||BUF|
|Rush Yds Allowed||BUF|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|New England leads 13-1|
|Oct 22, 2006||BUF 6, NE 28|
|Sep 10, 2006||BUF 17, @NE 19|
|Dec 11, 2005||BUF 7, NE 35|
|Oct 30, 2005||BUF 16, @NE 21|
|Nov 14, 2004||BUF 6, @NE 29|
|Oct 3, 2004||BUF 17, NE 31|
|Dec 27, 2003||BUF 0, @NE 31|
|Sep 7, 2003||BUF 31, NE 0|
|Dec 8, 2002||BUF 17, @NE 27|
|Nov 3, 2002||BUF 7, NE 38|
|Dec 16, 2001||BUF 9, NE 12|
|Nov 11, 2001||BUF 11, @NE 21|