Game Preview: Bills at Patriots

20181223-GamePreview-Bills-2500X1406

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (9-5) AT BUFFALO BILLS (5-9)
Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018 at 1 p.m. ET. Gillette Stadium (65,878)

The New England Patriots will return to the confines of Gillette Stadium and will finish the 2018 regular season with two straight games against AFC East opponents. This week, the Patriots host the Buffalo Bills and look for their 26th series sweep over the Bills, their second straight series sweep and their 14th series sweep since 2000. The Patriots won the first matchup between the two clubs with a 25-6 victory on Monday Night Football on Oct. 29 at Buffalo.

POSTSEASON PROWESS

If the New England Patriots defeat the Buffalo Bills on Sunday or the Miami Dolphins lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars, New England will become the first franchise in NFL history to earn a playoff berth in 10 consecutive seasons. The Patriots can also clinch a 10th straight division title with a win or a loss by Miami, which would extend their NFL record. New England enters this week tied with the Dallas Cowboys (1975-83) and the Indianapolis Colts (2002-10) as the only teams to qualify for the postseason for nine straight seasons.

SERIES HISTORY

The New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills will meet for the 118th time overall and for the second of two meetings in 2018. New England beat Buffalo, 25-6, on Monday Night Football at New Era Field on Oct. 29.

The Patriots will be looking for their 26th series sweep over the Bills, their second straight series sweep and their 14th series sweep since 2000.

New England holds a 73-43-1 edge in the series and have won 32 of the last 37 games between the clubs dating back to 2000.

The series between the AFC East rivals began in 1960 and the Patriots 73 wins over the Bills are their highest victory total over any opponent, nine more than they own over the New York Jets.

After seven straight series sweeps and 15 straight Patriots wins from 2003-10, Buffalo ended that streak with a 34-31 victory at Ralph Wilson Stadium in the first meeting between the teams in 2011. The 15-game win streak is tied for the fourth-longest winning streak over a single opponent in NFL history. The Patriots avenged that loss in the 2011 regular-season finale by overcoming a 21-0 first-quarter deficit and scoring 49 unanswered points en route to a 49-21 victory.

The teams have had many memorable matchups over the years, including a span from 1999 to 2001 where four-of-five contests were decided in overtime.

The Patriots first-ever playoff game was a 26-8 win over the Bills at Buffalo on Dec. 28, 1963. That remains their only postseason meeting.

TALE OF THE TAPE

2018 Regular Season New England Buffalo
Record 9-5 5-9
Divisional Standings 1st 3rd
Total Yards Gained 5,530 4,108
Total Offense (Rank) 395.0 (5) 293.4 (31)
Rush Offense 116.6 (15) 124.7 (9)
Pass Offense 278.4 (6) 168.7 (31)
Points Per Game 26.7 (7) 15.4 (31)
Total Yards Allowed 5,218 4,091
Total Defense (Rank) 372.7 (23) 292.2 (2)
Rush Defense 116.2 (17) 104.8 (10)
Pass Defense 256.5 (23) 187.4 (1)
Points Allowed/Game 22.1 (13t) 23.8 (18t)
Possession Avg. 30:41 30:56
Sacks Allowed/Yards Lost 19/132 40/279
Sacks Made/Yards 26/206 31/184
Total Touchdowns Scored 43 22
Penalties Against/Yards 84/665 110/939
Punts/Avg. 54/45.7 73/43.5
Turnover Differential +7 (11) -8 (26t)

SERIES BREAKDOWN

Home Record, 37-21

  • Record in Foxborough, 31-16
  • Foxboro Stadium, 17-14
  • Gillette Stadium, 14-2
  • Record in Boston, 6-5

Road Record, 36-22-1

  • War Memorial Stadium, 7-6-1
  • Ralph Wilson/Rich Stadium/New Era, 29-16

Largest Margin of Victory ..........................................................46 points (2007)

Largest Margin of Defeat .......................................................... 35 points (1970)

Longest Win Streak ..........................................................15 games (2003-2010)

Bill Belichick vs. Buffalo ..........................................................32-7 (32-5 with NE)

Sean McDermott vs. New England ..................................................................0-3

QUICK HITS

  • The Patriots have recorded 73 wins over the Bills, the most by the Patriots against any one opponent. The team New England has the next-most victories over is the Jets with 64.
  • The Buffalo Bills snapped a streak of 13 straight home wins by the Patriots, including 12 straight wins by the Patriots at Gillette Stadium with their 17-9 win in the 2014 regular-season finale on Dec. 28, 2014.
  • Bill Belichick has an 86-30 (.741) all-time regular-season record against the AFC East as head coach of the Patriots.

STREAKING SUCCESS

The Patriots won 15 consecutive games against the Buffalo Bills from 2003 through 2010, tied for the fourth-longest winning streak over a single opponent in NFL history.

BRADY BEATS BUFFALO

Tom Brady owns a 29-3 record against the Buffalo Bills. Brady’s 29 wins against Buffalo are the most wins by a quarterback against a single opponent.

IF THE PATRIOTS WIN...

  • The Patriots will clinch the 2018 AFC East title, extending their own NFL record to 10-straight division titles (2009-18). It will be the team's 18th division title since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994.
  • The Patriots will earn their 15th division title since realignment in 2002, which is the most in the NFL during that span. Green Bay and Indianapolis are tied for second with nine division titles since 2002.
  • The Patriots will qualify for the playoffs for the 26th time in the team's 59-year history, with 20 of those playoff berths coming in Robert Kraft's 25 seasons of ownership, compared to the team's six playoff appearances in the team's prior 34 years of existence.
  • The Patriots will secure a playoff appearance for an NFL record 10thstraight season (2009-18). They are currently tied with Dallas (1975-83) and Indianapolis (2002-10) for the most consecutive playoff berths in NFL history with nine. The Patriots are the only team in the NFL to have made the playoffs in each of the last nine seasons.
  • New England will earn its 10th win of the year, tying San Francisco (1983-98) for the most consecutive seasons with at least 10 wins with 16.
  • The Patriots will seal their 12th-straight win at home, matching the franchise's fourth-longest home win streak in Patriots history. 
  • The Patriots own an NFL-best record of 84-24 (.778) in regular-season division games since 2001 and can improve that mark with a win against the Bills. 
  • They will improve its record to 43-7 (.860) against division opponents at home since Gillette Stadium opened. 
  • Tom Brady will lead the Patriots to their 10th-straight division title, an NFL record for a quarterback. It will also be Brady's 16th division title overall, also an NFL record.  
  • Bill Belichick will claim his 10th consecutive division title and his 16th division title overall, both NFL records. In consecutive division titles, four other coaches are tied for second with six-straight division crowns. For overall division titles, Don Shula and Tom Landry are tied for second with 13 division crowns. 
  • Tom Brady will earn his 233rd career victory. He is currently second in NFL history behind Adam Vinatieri's 233 wins entering Week 16. 
  • Bill Belichick will break a tie with Tom Landry for second-most wins against division opponents amongst all head coaches since 1970. 
  • Bill Belichick will earn his 16th straight 10-win season, extending his own NFL record. George Seifert is second with eight 10-win seasons (1989-96).

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

  • With 21 yards passing against the Bills, Tom Brady will reach 4,000 yards passing this season, marking the 10th time in his career that he has reached the milestone, the third-most in NFL history.
  • With three receptions, Julian Edelman (488) will move past Ben Coates (490) for fifth all-time on the Patriots receiving leaders list.
  • With one touchdown reception from Tom Brady, Gronkowski and Brady will tie Dan Marino and Mark Clayton for fourth-most touchdown connections in NFL history.

BROADCAST INFORMATION

TELEVISION: This week’s game will be broadcast by CBS and can be seen locally on WBZ-TV Channel 4. Greg Gumbel will handle play-by-play duties with Trent Green and Bruce Arians as the color analysts. Melanie Collins will work from the sidelines. The game will be produced by Ken Mack and directed by Suzanne Smith.

NATIONAL RADIO: Sunday's game will be broadcast on Sports USA with Larry Kahn on play-by-play and Doug Plank providing analysis.

LOCAL RADIO: 98.5 The Sports Hub is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. A complete listing of the network’s 41 stations can be found here. Play-by-play broadcaster Bob Socci will call the action along with former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak, who will provide color analysis. The games are produced by Marc Cappello.

Related Content

Advertising