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Patriots shrug at Bills coach Rex Ryan, raucous crowd, pregame hype

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- It doesn't matter if it's Week 1 or Week 16 of the 2015 NFL schedule, the New England Patriots will be asked time and again about how they have used the offseason distractions as motivation.

It was evident during their 28-21 victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers last Thursday at Gillette Stadium that the Patriots are fired up. It won't change either. When asked about it, players are giving the typical Patriots line of "we're preparing for our next opponent."

On Sunday, the Patriots visit Ralph Wilson Stadium to face the Buffalo Bills and coach Rex Ryan. It's a fantastic environment in Buffalo. The fans are right on top of the field and they're loud from start to finish.

Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman had the best line of the day when asked what's the best part of playing on the road.

"You're the villain," he said. "When you go into a hostile environment where no one likes you, it's always fun sometimes."

What makes this rivalry between the Patriots and Bills even more enticing this season is the addition of Rex Ryan. The Bills' coach isn't afraid to speak his mind in an attempt to distract his opponent, especially the Patriots.

"We're not in high school where it's 'ra, ra' and this guy said that. This is the National Football League," Edelman said. "This is our job, so if you've taken time out of your day to think about what other teams are saying, and what's going on in the outside world, you're taking away time for preparing."

No matter what Ryan says leading up to game time, the Patriots will only shrug it off. Prior to Wednesday's practice, Edelman said he has nothing but respect for the veteran coach.

"We've had some big losses against him. We've had some wins. He's knocked us out of the playoffs. It's all great and everything, but it's all in the past. We're just worried about these Buffalo Bills."

Added Edelman, "You know coach Ryan is going to have them fired up, and all we can do right now is take advantage of this time we have to go out and try to prepare for these guys, because we know it's going to be a hostile environment."

Instead of providing bulletin-board material, or responding to anything Ryan has said, the Patriots are praising the opponent -- as usual.

"He does a great job coaching," said Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich. "Every time I've played against him he prepares his team well. Again, this game, like other games I've played against coach Ryan, it's going to be a tough game. For us, it's about preparing and doing our best to prepare with the time we have right now."

Patriots defensive lineman Chandler Jones talked about the "Patriots Way" and how professionalism is more important to a team's success than anything else that happens during the week leading up to a game.

"We have a group of guys here that are buying in 110 percent to what the coaches are coaching," Jones said. "Coach Belichick does a good job of recruiting guys that are intellectual and have a lot of football smarts."

Added Jones, "Let the pads do the talking and not your mouth."