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Notes: Avenging loss not the focus

Were it not for the Buffalo Bills in Week 4, New England would own a spotless record this season. Rex Ryan's charges not only beat the Patriots in Foxborough that day, they also handed New England its first home shutout since 1993.

But ask any Patriot today and they'll insist that they aren't dwelling on those facts.

"No, it's just one week at a time," maintained DE Chris Long. "That game, good or bad, doesn't mean anything, because if we'd come out and won that game, we wouldn't be hanging on to a game we won. So, it's time to move on and learn from that game, but certainly, this week is about this week."

"I don't really look at it as a payback game," echoed WR Chris Hogan. "It's a division game for us. They're playing well and I believe that this team is playing well. It'll be a physical battle for four quarters… which I think we'll be ready for. We just have to go up there and play well in all three phases."

"No. That was that game. It's got no bearing on this game," special teams co-captain Matthew Slater emphasized. "We're just going to focus on going out and playing football. They came in here and did what they needed to do the first game and we didn't have an answer for them, so hopefully we can keep that from happening again."

That won't be easy, of course, given the hostile environment of New Era Field – a place where New England nevertheless has had much success in the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick era.

"It's always a tough place to play up in Orchard Park," Brady stated. "We've got to be really on top of things, but it's a big challenge for us. [The fans] are just into it. I mean, they're into it from the first quarter all the way to the last; from pregame warmups to the end of the game. We've played in a lot of loud stadiums and Buffalo is definitely one of the tops. I think the thing that is most challenging is when they're making plays and sacking the quarterback and turnovers like they've been getting a lot of this year. That's what really kind of gets them amped up."

If the Bills were to knock of New England again this week, they'd become the first AFC East foe to win both games against the Patriots in the same season since 2000, Belichick's first as head coach here, when the Jets pulled off the feat.

To avoid that, the Patriots claim they can't look back to Week 4, but just take this week's opportunity for what it is.

"We want to win. We want to win every game. We focus on one game a week and that's it," said WR Danny Amendola. "Focus on this week, focus on getting better today, tomorrow, and Friday. It's a new week. We're focused on this [Buffalo] team this week."

"We've won a lot of games. We've lost a lot of games. Those games are all in the books. There's nothing you can do about them," Belichick explained. "What we can affect is what happens this week and that's what we're going to work on is to be as well prepared and competitive as we can be on Sunday."

Championing Chung

Belichick had good things to say about Patrick Chung today, after the veteran safety led New England in tackles against Pittsburgh last weekend. In particular, Chung's ability to cover players of any size, from slot receivers to much bigger tight ends.

"He's got really good skills, very tough, very good tackler and he matches up against a lot of players," Belichick began. "Like you said, he's been on receivers, he's been on fast tight ends, he's been on big tight ends, he's been on backs. He's got good quickness, good strength, instinctive, tough, mentally tough, physically tough, very good tackler.

"Guys can catch passes on him but usually he tackles them so that keeps some of those plays from becoming bigger plays and that's important, too. He can play zone, he can play man. He's a versatile player for us… and you've seen him make plays on special teams as well. He's one of our best conditioned athletes. He's able to play a lot of plays and able to play them at a high level."

Later, a reporter compared Chung, who's listed at 5-11, 215, to former Colts safety Bob Sanders and Chung was flattered.

"I like Bob. Yeah, he's a tough dude. Little-man's syndrome," Chung laughed. "He's playing like he's 6-5 and he's 5-8. It's just a mentality: Go out there and try to beat the guy across from you. Take care of your body, play smart, you'll be fine.

"Just knowing your opponent, being in tune with the game. You can't really think, 'Oh, I'm going to cover a receiver now [instead of a tight end].' You just have to go out there and cover him. Do the best you can. Slow him down as much as you can."

Trade secrets

New England pulled off a pair of trades this week, shipping tight end AJ Derby to Denver and acquiring LB Kyle Van Noy from Detroit.

The latter was on the field for Wednesday's practice in Foxborough, wearing number 53, but it remains to be seen how Belichick and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia plan to use their new player.

"He was on the line [as] 'Sam' [strong-side linebacker] in [the Lions'] 4-3 package. He was off the line inside linebacker in their nickel package. He didn't really play a lot his first two years. This year was the year he had the most playing time. He played in the kicking game.

"I don't know," Belichick said before practice. "We haven't even been on the field with the guy so I don't know. [The trade was] one of those things that came up fairly quickly and just worked out. It wasn't something we had talked about or anything like that previously."

Practice Report

Despite media reports earlier in the day indicating that he'd be ready to practice, there was no sign of RB Dion Lewis on the field Wednesday. He made a cameo in the locker room just beforehand, however.

Lewis is one of three Patriots – RT Sebastian Vollmer and G Tre' Jackson the other – on PUP (the physically unable to perform list) and eligible to begin practicing again. None has yet been cleared, though, to do so.

Meanwhile, all the other members of the Patriots active roster and practice squad were able to take part. The club has one spot available on the 53-man active roster after trading Derby to Denver.  

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