This Week: The New England Patriots (7-5) will begin the final month of the season at home in Gillette Stadium (68,436 capacity) against AFC East rival Buffalo Bills. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.
Television: This week's game will be broadcast nationally on CBS (WBZ Channel 4 in Boston). The play-by-play duties will be handled by Greg Gumbel, who will be joined in the booth by Phil Simms. Armen Keteyian will provide sideline reports throughout the game.
Radio: Every Patriots game can be heard in stereo on the Patriots official flagship station WBCN 104.1 FM. Gil Santos, now in his 26th season as the voice of the Patriots, will call the game along with Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti, who will provide indepth analysis for his 22nd season. A complete list of the Patriots WBCN Rock Radio Network can be found on pages 462-463 of the 2002 Patriots media guide or at www.patriots.com.
Looking Sharp at Gillette: The Patriots have won nine of their last 11 games at home (including preseason and postseason). Foxborough has been a wonderful home to the Patriots since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. The team has compiled a 59-30 (.663) overall record at home during that time span. This week's game against the Buffalo Bills will be the 90th consecutive sellout at home and the 190th consecutive game broadcast locally. The last local blackout was against the Indianapolis Colts on Dec. 26, 1993.
Versus the AFC East: The Patriots will begin the month of December at home against division rival Buffalo. New England has recorded an 8-1 record against their AFC East rivals in their last nine meetings, including a 2-1 record this year. The Patriots played their first three division games on the road this year and will conclude the season with three of their last four games against the AFC East at Gillette Stadium.
Another December to Remember?: The Patriots have a 6-2 record in the month of December since Bill Belichick assumed the duties as head coach in 2000. Last season, the Patriots won all four of their games, including three against division opponents. As the temperatures have cooled in recent years, the Patriots have heated up. Since 1993, New England is 13-4 when it's 36 degrees or colder.
The Patriots A-Train: Patriots running back Antowain Smith will play in his fourth game against his former team this weekend when the Patriots host the Bills. Smith has rushed for an average of 102 yards in his three games against the Bills, including his 111-yard effort in the Patriots 38-7 victory on Nov. 3. He also tied a single-game career-high with three touchdowns (2 receiving, 1 rushing) in their last meeting. The Patriots are 5-0 when Smith has rushed for 100 yards or more over the past two seasons.