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Storylines for every Patriots opponent

Posted Apr 24, 2014

View notes on every Patriots opponent for the 2014 season.

Buffalo Bills

Week 6: October 12 (Away), 1:00 PM EDT
Week 17: December 28 (Home), 1:00 PM EST

Friendly confines. The Patriots have won their last 13 home games against Buffalo, including a perfect 12-0 record against the Bills at Gillette Stadium.

Too cool. The Patriots are a perfect 10-0 against the Bills when the temperature is less than 40 degrees over the past 20 years. Nine of those games have been played in Buffalo, with the only home game in freezing temperatures occurring in the 2013 finale. The Patriots have outscored the Bills 290 to 111 in those games.

Last Meeting: Patriots won 34-20 vs. Buffalo, Dec. 29, 2013
Despite heavy rain throughout the game, LeGarrette Blount set a new Patriots single-game record with 334 all-purpose yards, gaining 189 yards from scrimmage (all on the ground) and adding 145 return yards. Stephen Gostkowksi set a franchise record with 158 points for the season, leading the league in scoring for the third time in his career. The Patriots closed out the season with another perfect 8-0 record at home and remain undefeated at Gillette Stadium against Buffalo.

Miami Dolphins

Week 1: September 7 (Away), 1:00 PM EDT
Week 15: December 14 (Home), 1:00 PM EST

One and done. The Dolphins are one of just three teams (N.Y. Jets and Cincinnati) on the Patriots 2014 schedule to win the last regular season meeting between the teams. Miami’s win last season snapped New England’s seven game winning streak against the Dolphins. The Patriots haven’t lost consecutive games to the Dolphins since 2000-01. The two teams have met 25 times since the back-to-back losses.

Getting offensive. The Patriots have scored 20-plus points in 11 straight games against the Dolphins dating back to 2008. It is New England’s longest active streak against any opponent. The Patriots have averaged 30.7 points over that stretch and are 9-2 in those games.

Last Meeting: Dolphins won 20-24 at Miami, Dec. 15, 2013
Julian Edelman (13 catches for 139 yards and a touchdown) and Danny Amendola (10 catches for 131 yards) each put up 10-plus catches and 125-plus receiving yards, the first time two players accomplished the feat in the same game in Patriots history. A 14-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill to Marcus Thigpen with 1:15 remaining put the Dolphins ahead. The Patriots drove down the field as time wound down but could not find the end zone as Miami held on.

New York Jets

Week 7: October 16 (Home), 8:25 PM EDT
Week 16: December 21 (Away), 1:00 PM EST

Cleared for takeoff. The Patriots have averaged 28.4 points in 10 regular season games since Rex Ryan took over as Jets head coach in 2009. New England has averaged almost nine more points per game than all other Jets’ opponents over that span, with the Jets holding all non-New England opponents to a 19.7 average.

No fun for familiar foes. The Patriots have won 15 straight home games against AFC East opponents. It is the longest active streak and the fifth-longest streak of all-time. Green Bay (1994-98) holds the record since the merger with 18 straight wins. The Patriots have a chance to tie the record this year with a divisional sweep at home. New England’s last divisional home loss came in 2008 in an overtime game against the New York Jets. The Patriots are 31-5 against the AFC East at Gillette Stadium.

Last Meeting: Jets won 27-30 (OT) at N.Y Jets, Oct. 20, 2013
Logan Ryan returned his first career NFL interception 79 yards for a touchdown to put the Patriots up 14-7 at the end of the first quarter. Down three points with just over 2:00 minutes remaining in the game, the Patriots offense took the field at their own eight-yard line. Brady drove the team down the field and Stephen Gostkowski hit a game-tying 49-yard field goal to send the game to overtime. An unsportsmanlike penalty on the Patriots gave the Jets a second chance at a game-winning field goal in overtime and Nick Folk was good from 42 yards out for the win.

Denver Broncos

Week 9: November 2 (Home), 4:25 PM EST

AFC Championship Game rematch. The AFC’s top two teams from 2013 will face off again this year. The Patriots have advanced to the AFC Championship Game 10 times in team history and are 8-2 in the rematches the following year (the 1985 championship pitted the Patriots against division foe Miami and the Patriots won both matchups in 1986.)

4th down showdown. The league’s best fourth down defense over the past two seasons will face the league’s best fourth down offense. The Patriots defense has allowed a league-low 29.5 percent fourth down conversion rate (13-of-44), despite facing the second-most attempts (48, San Francisco) in that span. The Broncos have converted 78.6 percent of its attempts (11-of-14) since 2012.

Last Meeting: Broncos won 16-26 at Denver, Jan. 19, 2014 (AFCCG)
Playing in their first road playoff game since the 2006 postseason, the Patriots fell behind early before mounting a fourth quarter comeback that came up short, losing to Denver in the AFC Championship Game. Julian Edelman caught a touchdown and Tom Brady ran for another, but the Patriots could not climb any closer after a failed two-point conversion kept the Broncos lead at 10.

Oakland Raiders

Week 3: September 21 (Home), 1:00 PM EDT

Bad memories. The Raiders played in the last game ever at Foxboro Stadium, but have been to Gillette Stadium just once since it opened in 2002, losing 30-20 in 2005. This will be their second visit to Gillette, and they enter the matchup having lost the last three overall meetings.

East coast troubles. The Raiders haven’t won on the road against an AFC East foe since 2007 when they beat the Miami Dolphins. In that span, Oakland has lost six straight away games against the AFC East and is 2-10 overall vs. the division since that win, with both victories coming at home against the New York Jets.

Last Meeting: Patriots won 31-19 at Oakland, Oct. 2, 2011
Two Tom Brady touchdown passes and a season-high 183 rushing yards by Stevan Ridley (97) and BenJarvus Green-Ellis (75) helped the Patriots score 30-plus points for the 12th straight game. Ridley scored his first NFL touchdown on a 33-yard run in the third quarter and Vince Wilfork added his second career interception.

Cincinnati Bengals

Week 5: October 5 (Home), 8:30 PM EDT

Staying a while. The Patriots and Bengals have the longest tenured and second-longest tenured coaches in the NFL, respectively. Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick enters his 15th season as Patriots head coach while 2014 marks the 12th season at the helm for Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati.

Welcome guests. New England has not lost to Cincinnati at home since 1986. The Patriots have won the last five meetings in Foxborough and hold an 8-2 advantage over the Bengals at home all-time.

Last Meeting: Bengals won 6-13 at Cincinnati, Oct. 6, 2013
The Patriots were held without a touchdown for the first time since 2009 as Tom Brady’s consecutive games with a touchdown pass steak ended at 52, the second longest mark in league history. New England was only able to muster two Stephen Gostkowski field goals in the loss after a comeback attempt in the driving rain came up short. Chris Jones registered his first NFL sack, finishing with 1½ sacks on the day and the Patriots did not commit a penalty for the fourth team in team history.

Chicago Bears

Week 8: October 26 (Home), 1:00 PM EDT

Undefeated at home. The Bears are winless in three trips to Foxborough, with their last visit in 2006, a 17-13 New England victory. This is the 13th meeting between the two teams, with the Patriots winning six of the last seven, including three straight.

Century mark. The Patriots and Bears are two of three NFL teams to have an individual player post 100 catches in a single season for each of the past two years. For the Patriots, Julian Edelman (105) and Wes Welker (118) each had 100-plus catches in 2013 and 2012, respectively. Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall (100, 118) had 100-plus catches in both years. The Texans (Andre Johnson; 109, 112) are the other team with an individual posting 100-plus catches the past two seasons.

Last Meeting: Patriots won 36-7 at Chicago, Dec. 12, 2010
The Patriots improved to 11-0 in the snow under Bill Belichick, beating the Bears in snowy Chicago. The Patriots extended their league record by scoring at least 30 points without committing a turnover for the fifth straight game. Tom Brady threw two touchdowns and no interceptions, extending several record streaks including attempts without an interception, starts without an interception and games with at least two touchdown passes and no interceptions. Deion Branch (151) and Wes Welker (115) both went over 100 yards receiving. Devin McCourty forced a fumble that Gary Guyton returned 35 yards for a touchdown.

Detroit Lions

Week 12: November 23 (Home), 1:00 PM EST

Infrequent visitors. The Lions will make just their second trip to Foxborough in 20-plus years. After playing four of the first five games in series history in New England, the Lions have only visited Foxborough once since 1993, a 28-21 loss in 2006.

Milestone in the making. Tom Brady got his first NFL action against Detroit, appearing in his first game in 2000, completing one-of-three attempts for six yards. He reached another milestone in 2010, when he threw four touchdowns against the Lions, giving him at least one touchdown pass against all 31 NFL teams.

Last Meeting: Patriots won 45-24 at Detroit, Nov. 25, 2010
The Patriots offense was ready for its first Thanksgiving game since 2002. Tom Brady posted a perfect passer rating, throwing for 341 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. Wes Welker and Deion Branch each caught two touchdowns and BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for two more. Devin McCourty recorded his first career two-interception game, the first Patriots rookie to do so since Mike Haynes in 1976.

Kansas City Chiefs

Week 4: September 29 (Away), 8:30 PM EDT

Return to Arrowhead. The Patriots haven’t played in Kansas City since 2005. The Patriots have played in every NFL city over that time span, with the exception of St. Louis as the Patriots were the away team vs. the Rams in London in 2012. The Patriots last visit to St. Louis was in 2004.

Second half stinginess. The Patriots have allowed just 23 second half points in the past four meetings (5.75 points per game) between the teams, dating back to 2004. New England is 3-1 in those contests and has won five of the last six meetings.

Last Meeting: Patriots won 34-3 vs. Kansas City, Nov. 21, 2011
After being held scoreless in the first quarter, the Patriots scored 34 unanswered points in a win at home on Monday Night Football. Rob Gronkowski had two receiving touchdowns, including a career-long 52-yard touchdown reception, giving him 20 career touchdowns in 26 games and making him the fastest tight end to reach that milestone. Kyle Arrington picked off two Tyler Palko passes, giving him a league-leading seven for the season. Shane Vereen added his first career touchdown, with a four-yard rushing score.

San Diego Chargers

Week 14: December 7 (Away), 8:30 PM EST

California dreaming. Since visiting all three California teams in 2008, the Patriots have made just two visits to the Golden State. New England won at San Diego 23-20 in 2010 and traveled to Oakland in 2011, coming away with a 31-19 victory.

Running back reunion. The Patriots are set to face Danny Woodhead for the first time since his departure following the 2012 season. New England has never allowed 100 yards rushing or receiving to a former player during the Belichick era.

Last Meeting: Patriots won 35-21 vs. San Diego, Sept. 18, 2011
The Patriots remained unbeaten in home openers at Gillette Stadium, winning both their 10th consecutive home opener and 10th consecutive regular season game overall, dating back to the 2010 season. Tom Brady threw three touchdowns, including two to Rob Gronkowski en route to the Patriots 18th straight regular season victory at home. Vince Wilfork recorded his first career interception, picking off Philip Rivers and returning the pick 28 yards.

Indianapolis Colts

Week 11: November 16 (Away), 8:30 PM EST

Familiar foe. The Patriots and Colts will face off for the 12th consecutive year. The two teams have met at least once in the regular or postseason since 2003, playing 14 games (10 regular season, 4 postseason) over that span. It is the longest active streak for two non-division opponents and tied for the second-longest of all-time with Cincinnati-Seattle (12) from 1984-1995. The AFC East and AFC South are scheduled to play again in 2015 and the streak will tie Minnesota-San Francisco (1983-1995) for the longest ever.

Steady under center. The Patriots and Colts have combined to have only six opening day quarterbacks since 1994, the year that Robert Kraft purchased the Patriots franchise. The Patriots have started the fewest number of quarterbacks in the NFL during that time frame, with only Drew Bledsoe and Tom Brady receiving an opening day start, and the Colts have started only four quarterbacks on opening day: Jim Harbaugh, Peyton Manning, Kerry Collins and Andrew Luck.

Last Meeting: Patriots won 43-22 vs. Indianapolis, Jan. 11, 2014 (Divisional Playoffs)
The Patriots scored six rushing touchdowns in a divisional playoff victory over the Colts, tying for the second most rushing touchdowns in NFL postseason history and scoring the most rushing touchdowns in franchise history (regular season or playoffs). LeGarrette Blount set the franchise record with four rushing touchdowns and Stevan Ridley added a pair. Blount tied Curtis Martin for the most rushing yards in New England postseason history with 166, including a 73-yard touchdown run. The Patriots intercepted Andrew Luck four times, twice by Alfonzo Dennard and once each by Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower.

Green Bay Packers

Week 13: November 30 (Away), 4:25 PM EST

The NFL’s all-time leaders in touchdown/interception ratio set to meet in Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers has an NFL-best 3.62 touchdown/interception ratio followed by Tom Brady’s 2.68. The two quarterbacks have never faced off as starters. Rodgers came on for an injured Brett Favre during the 2006 meeting, completing 4-of-12 passes for 32 yards and missed the 2010 meeting between the teams.

Big cheese. The Patriots are one of just eight teams to shut out the Packers at Lambeau Field and are the last team to accomplish feat (home or away) winning the teams’ last meeting in Green Bay 35-0 in 2006.

Last Meeting: Patriots won 31-27 vs. Green Bay, Dec. 19, 2010
In a back and forth game, BenJarvus Green-Ellis rumbled for a 33-yard touchdown run and Dan Connolly recorded the longest kickoff return ever by an offensive lineman, returning a first half kickoff 71 yards to the Packers four-yard line. Kyle Arrington returned a third quarter interception for a touchdown, putting the Patriots on top for the first time in the game. The Patriots defense registered five sacks, including two on the Packers last drive of the game to keep them out of the end zone and seal the win. It was the Patriots eighth straight win against a team with a record of .500 or better.

Minnesota Vikings

Week 2: September 14 (Away), 1:00 PM EDT

A potential meeting with Matt Cassel. The only quarterback besides Tom Brady to start a game for the Patriots since Brady took over in 2001, Matt Cassel, started the last four games of 2013 for the Vikings before re-signing with the team to compete for the starting job in 2014. Cassel has never faced the Patriots since his departure. The only former backup quarterback to face the Patriots in the Brady era is Damon Huard, who completed 8-of-12 passes for 118 yards, one touchdown and one interception in a 2008 return to New England while with the Chiefs.

Back to school. The Patriots will face the Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium, the home of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers while the Vikings new stadium is being built. The Patriots last played in a college stadium in 2002, in a 33-30 victory over the Bears at the University of Illinois while Soldier Field was being rebuilt. It is the first time the Patriots have traveled to Minnesota to play in an outdoor game since Oct. 27, 1974, a game which the Patriots won 17-14 on an unseasonably warm 72 degree day.

Ground glory. The Patriots and Vikings are first and second in the NFL in rushing touchdowns since 2012 with 44 and 39 touchdowns, respectively.

Last Meeting: Patriots won 28-18 vs. Minnesota, Oct. 31, 2010
The Patriots played in their first ever home game on Halloween. BenJarvus Green-Ellis had a big day, rushing for 112 yards and two touchdowns, reaching the end zone for the fifth straight game. Brandon Tate had the two longest receptions of his career – a 65-yard touchdown reception and a 32-yard reception – to cap off his first 100-yard game. Rookie Devin McCourty had a game-changing play, intercepting Brett Favre in Patriots territory while the Patriots clung to 14-10 third quarter lead.

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