What to Watch For: Patriots vs. Bills
Sunday, December 03, 2017
New England Patriots begin a three-game road swing on Sunday when they visit AFC East rival Buffalo.
SEE WHAT TO WATCH FOR IN THE SLIDESHOW BELOW
The Patriots enter the game with a 9-2 record and winners of seven straight. Buffalo comes in with a record of 6-5.
"They're a tough, hard-nosed football team - tough team to play against. They do a really good job of their execution, make you work for everything. It will be tough up there," said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick during his press conference on Friday.
"It's a team we really had to dive into the film and kind of see what they're about, see what they're doing this year. Obviously, some of the personnel we know with Tyrod Taylor, [LeSean] McCoy, some of the guys up front and [Charles] Clay, but it's a lot of new guys," said Patriots safety Devin McCourty during his press conference on Wednesday.
Game time is set for 1 p.m.
Patriots vs. Buffalo
The Patriots and Bills will meet for the 115th time on Sunday with the Patriots holding a 70-43-1 advantage in the series.
Last season, the two teams split the season series with Buffalo winning 16-0 at Gillette Stadium and the Patriots winning 41-25 in Buffalo.
New England has won 29 of the last 34 games between, dating back to the 2000 season.
SEE WHAT TO WATCH FOR IN THE SLIDESHOW BELOW
Related Slideshow: 5 Things to Watch For: Patriots vs. Bills
Throughout his career, tight end Rob Gronkowski has had big games against the Bills, the team he grew up rooting for.
In six career games in Buffalo, Gronkowski has seven touchdowns on 35 catches for 583 yards.
"It's always challenging going in there and just growing up, where you're from - just about 20 minutes away from the stadium - and going to games growing up and everything. I would say just being able to go there gets your juices flowing, and it's just a dream come true every single time you get to go to your hometown and play. So, I treat it as an honor to go back and play and I always get excited for it because you're playing in front of your family and friends you grew up with," said Gronkowski during his press conference on Thursday.
This season, the Bills have given up 55 catches and two touchdowns to tight ends.
The Patriots offensive line will look to rebound after a rough week last week against the Dolphins.
The offensive line gave up only one sack, but allowed Tom Brady to get hit eight times in the game. Brady fumbled on the play resulting in a touchdown for Miami.
The Bills are 31st in the NFL in sacks per pass play, so an opportunity for the offensive line to build some confidence back.
Marcus Cannon will once again be out of the game, while center David Andrews is listed as questionable, according to tot he Friday injury report.
Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore returns to Buffalo returns to Buffalo to face his former team.
Gilmore spent five seasons in Buffalo where he racked up 14 interceptions.
Gilmore signed a five-year deal worth $65 million with the Patriots in the offseason.
So far this season, Gilmore has two interceptions and five passes defensed in eight games.
Other than quarterback Tyrod Taylor, LeSean McCoy is the key to the Buffalo Bills offense.
In 11 games this season, McCoy has rushed 192 times for 758 yards and four touchdowns. He has also 46 passes for 295 yards and one touchdown.
He is the only Bill with more than 30 catches.
In three games against the Patriots, McCoy has carried 54 times for 241 yards and caught 15 passes for 108.
"He's just so tough in the open field. I've been playing him since college where we had calls where you've got him in a phone booth and you come up with just his towel. You just want to get as many guys there, and there's going to obviously be some one-on-one opportunities in the game where you just want to keep your leverage on him and take your shot and try to make that tackle," said Patriots safety Devin McCourty.
Martellus Bennett has been ruled out for the season, meaning the Patriots are back to relying on Dwayne Allen.
After having no catches in the Patriots first eight games, Allen has four catches and a touchdown in the last three games.
With the offensive line struggling, Allen will likely be used to help block.
However, it will be interesting to see how much he shows up in the passing game.
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