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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Thu Dec 03 | 04:00 PM - 11:59 PM

Game Preview: Patriots close out regular season against the Bills

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NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (12-3) vs BUFFALO BILLS (8-7)
Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. ET
* Gillette Stadium (68,756)*

The New England Patriots will close out the 2014 regular season when they host the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. It is the fourth time in the last seven seasons and the second straight season that the Patriots will end the regular season against Buffalo.

The New England Patriots take on the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday, October 12, 2014.

The Patriots are assured of being the top seed in the AFC playoffs as a result of the Denver Broncos' 37-28 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night. It is the fifth time the Patriots have earned the top seed (2003, 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2014).

The Patriots have won their last 13 home games against the Bills, including a perfect 12-0 record at Gillette Stadium. Additionally, Tom Brady is 23-2 all-time against Buffalo.

The Patriots are 7-0 at home in 2014 and will attempt to finish a perfect 8-0 at Gillette Stadium for the seventh time in team history. New England has finished perfect at home in 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2013. The only other teams that are undefeated at home in 2014 are Denver and Green Bay.

The Patriots have won 35 straight games at home against AFC opponents, marking the longest such streak in NFL history (following the 1970 merger). The Miami Dolphins are second in NFL history with 21 straight conference wins (1971-74). The Patriots last loss at home against an AFC opponent was a 33-10 defeat vs. Pittsburgh on Nov. 30, 2008.

Since 2001, the Patriots are 67-18 (.788) against AFC East opponents, compiling the best intra-division record of any team in the NFL. Indianapolis is second with a 62-23 (.729) record in its division.

BROADCAST INFORMATION

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TELEVISION:** This week's game will be broadcast by CBS and can be seen locally on WBZTV Channel 4 in Boston. Spero Dedes will handle play-by-play duties with Solomon Wilcotts as the color analyst. The game will be produced by Victor Frank and directed by Chris Svendsen.

LOCAL RADIO: 98.5 FM, The Sports Hub, is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. Play-by-play broadcaster Bob Socci will call the action along with former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak, who will provide color analysis.

PATRIOTS EARN FIRST-ROUND BYE
The Patriots earned a first-round bye in the 2014 NFL playoffs and lead the NFL with 10 firstround byes since the current NFL playoff format was instituted in 1990. New England has earned a first-round bye for the fifth consecutive season, becoming the first team with five straight byes. Dallas and San Francisco earned four straight byes from 1992 through 1995.

MOST SEASONS EARNING A BYE SINCE 12-TEAM PLAYOFF FORMAT IN 1990
New England 10
Pittsburgh 8
San Francisco 8
Denver 6

SERIES HISTORY

The Patriots and Bills will meet for the 110th time and for the second of two 2014 meetings. The Patriots traveled to Buffalo for the first meeting on Oct. 12 and pulled out a 37-22 victory.

New England holds a 67-41-1 edge in the series following series sweeps in 2012 and 2013 and a win in the first meeting in 2014.

New England has swept the series 23 times and have won 26 of the last 29 games overall, dating back to the 2000 season.

The Patriots are 35-19 all-time in home games against Buffalo, including 12-0 at Gillette Stadium.

The series between the AFC East rivals began in 1960. The Patriots' 67 wins over the Bills are their highest victory total over any opponent, nine more than they own over the New York Jets (58).

After seven straight series sweeps and 15 straight Patriots wins, Buffalo ended the streak with a 34-31 victory at Ralph Wilson Stadium in the first meeting in 2011 (9/25). The 15-game win streak is the third longest winning streak over a single opponent in NFL history. The Patriots avenged that loss in the 2011 regular-season finale on Jan. 1, 2012, 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 five-game span from 1999 to 2001 where four of the five contests were decided in overtime.

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SERIES BREAKDOWN

Home Record, 35-19
Record in Foxborough, 29-14
Foxboro Stadium, 17-14
Gillette Stadium, 12-0
Record in Boston, 6-5

Away Record, 32-22-1
War Memorial Stadium, 7-6-1
Ralph Wilson/Rich Stadium, 25-16
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 Bills, 26-4 (26-3 with N.E.)

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PATRIOTS-BILLS QUICK HITS**

  • The Patriots have recorded 67 wins over the Bills, the most by the Patriots against any one opponent. The Jets are second with 58 wins.
  • The Patriots have won 13 straight games against Buffalo at home, including a perfect 12-0 record at Gillette Stadium.
  • Bill Belichick has a 69-24 (.742) all-time regular season record against the AFC East as head coach of the Patriots. PASSING PERFORMANCES

Tom Brady has led the Patriots to 23 regular-season victories over the Bills, recording his highest regular season victory total over any opponent. Additionally, Brady has thrown for more touchdowns (58) against Buffalo than any other opponent. He has 45 touchdowns against the Dolphins and 36 against the Jets. Brady also has more 300-yard games (8) against Buffalo than any other NFL team. He has six 300-yard games against Miami.

BRADY UNDEFEATED AT HOME VS. BUFFALO
Brady is 12-0 all-time against Buffalo in home games, including 11-0 at Gillette Stadium. He has thrown 27 touchdown passes and only six interceptions in those home games.

CONNECTIONS

NEW ENGLAND TIES

  • Bills CB Corey Graham attended New Hampshire from 2003-06, starting all 42 games and recording 302 tackles, 12 INTs, 31 passes defensed, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He also holds the New Hampshire school record with 1,787 kickoff return yards on 65 returns and three touchdowns.
  • Bills WR Marcus Easley attended Bunnell HS in Stratford, Conn., to a pair of state playoff berths in his final two seasons before playing collegiately at the University of Connecticut, where he finished his career with 53 catches for 997 yards and eight touchdowns.
  • Bills head coach Doug Marrone was the offensive line coach at Northeastern in 1994.
  • Bills head strength and conditioning coach Eric Ciano earned his bachelor's degree in 1997 from Springfield (Mass.) College, where he lettered in football.
    BUFFALO TIES

Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski attended Williamsville HS just outside Buffalo, N.Y., for three years, earning first-team All-Western New York honors and second- team all-state as a junior in 2005. * Patriots DE Chandler Jones was born in Rochester, N.Y. and attended Union-Endicott HS in Endicott, N.Y., where he was a 2007 SuperPrep All-Northeast and PrepStar All-East Region selection. He went on to play collegiately at Syracuse University, where he was an All-Big East selection as a junior in 2011 after posting 39 tackles and 4 1/2 sacks. * Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia attended Vernon-Verona- Sherrill HS in Sherrill, N.Y., before going on to serve as a graduate assistant at Syracuse from 2001-03. * Patriots tight ends coach Brian Daboll is a Buffalo, N.Y. native who attended St. Francis HS before playing collegiately at the University of Rochester. As a senior safety in 1997, Daboll once recorded three interceptions in a game. * Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears coached the wide receivers at Syracuse from 1980-90.
FORMER PATRIOTS

  • Bills LB Brandon Spikes was originally drafted by New England in the second round (62nd overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft. He started 39 games over four seasons with the Patriots, totaling 286 tackles, one sack, 12 passes defensed and two interceptions.
  • Bills defensive line coach Pepper Johnson began his coaching career as an assistant linebackers coach for the Patriots in 2000. He coached inside linebackers from 2001-03, the defensive line from 2004-11 and the linebackers from 2012-13.
  • Bills TE Lee Smith was originally selected by New England in the fifth round (159th overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft before being claimed off waivers and awarded to Buffalo on Sept. 4, 2011.
  • Bills WR Marcus Thigpen was signed by New England to the practice squad on Sept. 3, 2014 before being released on Sept. 16, 2014.
    FORMER BILLS
  • Patriots LS Danny Aiken was originally signed by Buffalo as a rookie free agent on July 28, 2011 before being released on Sept. 3, 2011. He was claimed off waivers and awarded to New England on Sept. 4, 2011.
  • Patriots LB Chris White was originally drafted by Buffalo in the sixth round (169th overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft. He appeared in 22 games for the Bills from 2011-12, playing mostly on special teams and recording two tackles and one forced fumble.
  • Patriots DL Alan Branch played for the Bills in 2013, appearing in all 16 regular-season games with 13 starts, compiling a career-high 39 tackles and one pass defensed.
    FORMER NFL TEAMMATES

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick coached Bills defensive line coach Pepper Johnson for several seasons. Johnson was drafted as a linebacker by the New York Giants in 1986, when Belichick was serving as the Giants defensive coordinator, and stayed with Belichick through the 1990 season. From 1993- 95, Belichick coached Johnson in Cleveland, where he was the Browns head coach. Finally, Johnson finished out his playing career with the New York Jets from 1997-98, when Belichick was the team's assistant head coach/defensive backs. Johnson went on to coach for the Patriots from 2000-13. * Patriots offensive coordinator/quarterbacks Josh McDaniels coached Bills QB Kyle Orton when he was head coach of the Denver Broncos from 2009-10. Orton started 28 games over the course of those two seasons, which were the best of his career. He set career highs in touchdowns (21) and yards (3,802) in 2009, and then established a career high in passer rating (87.5) in 2010. * Patriots CB Darrelle Revis (2013), RB LeGarrette Blount (2010-12), TE Tim Wright (2013), DT Chris Jones (2013), LB Jonathan Casillas (2013) and Bills WR Mike Williams (2010-13) all played together for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. * Patriots special teams coach Scott O'Brien (special teams) and Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz (defensive assistant) were both on the Baltimore Ravens coaching staff from 1996-98.
FORMER COLLEGE TEAMMATES

  • Patriots DE Chandler Jones played under Bills head coach Doug Marrone from 2009-11, when Marrone was head coach of the Orange. Bills WR Mike Williams also played at Syracuse with Jones from 2008-09.
  • Patriots C Bryan Stork (2010-13), Bills QB E.J. Manuel (2008-12) and LB Nigel Bradham (2008-11) were teammates at Florida State.
  • Patriots WR Brandon LaFell (2005-09), RB Stevan Ridley (2007-10) and Bills CB Ron Brooks (2008-11) were teammates at Louisiana State.
  • Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower and Bills DT Marcell Dareus were teammates at Alabama from 2008-10. Hightower also played with Bills OT Cyrus Kouandjio at Alabama in 2011.
  • Patriots LB Chris White and Bills RB Boobie Dixon were teammates at Mississippi State in 2009.
  • Patriots OL Marcus Cannon and Bills DE Jerry Hughes were teammates at Texas Christian from 2006-09.
  • Patriots DE Rob Ninkovich and Bills QB Kyle Orton played together at Purdue in 2004. In a game against Notre Dame on Oct. 2, Ninkovich posted two sacks and also caught a touchdown pass from Orton.
  • Patriots WR Aaron Dobson and Bills TE Lee Smith were offensive teammates at Marshall from 2009-10.
  • Patriots LB Jonathan Casillas and Bills G Kraig Urbik were teammates at Wisconsin from 2005-08.
    PATRIOTS: Game Release | Injury Report | Matchups | Roster | Depth Chart | Stats
    BILLS: Game Release | Roster | Depth Chart | Stats

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