The Patriots will return to action following the bye week by opening their AFC East division schedule against the Buffalo Bills with a Sunday night prime time game in Foxborough. New England is playing its first divisional game of the season in Week Eight, marking the latest division-opener in franchise history. Before this season, the latest the Patriots had played their first divisional game was in 1980, when they began AFC East play against the New York Jets in Week Five. This week's game begins a 10-week stretch in which six games will fall against divisional opponents. The Patriots also enter a portion of their schedule that will see them play three home games in the four-week span between now and Thanksgiving.
TELEVISION: This week's game will be televised to a national cable audience by ESPN and can also be seen over the airwaves in Boston on WCVB Channel 5. Mike Patrick will handle play-by-play duties and will be joined by analysts Joe Theismann and Paul Maguire. Suzy Kolber will provide sideline reports throughout the game.
RADIO: WBCN 104.1 FM is the flagship station for the Patriots Rock Radio Network. A complete listing of the network's 36 stations can be found in this press release. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 29th season as the voice of the Patriots and will call the action along with Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti. Santos and Cappelletti are celebrating their 22nd season as a broadcast tandem.
HOME SWEET HOME
Since Gillette Stadium opened in 2002, the Patriots have compiled a 25-4 record. New England's .862 home winning percentage is the highest of any NFL team over that span. The Patriots achieved perfect 8-0 regular season home records in 2003 and 2004 and have also notched a 3-0 home playoff record at Gillette Stadium. New England won a franchise-record 21 consecutive home games between 2002 and 2005. Below is a list of the NFL's top home records (including regular-season and playoff games) since the Patriots moved into Gillette Stadium in time for the 2002 season.
This week, the Patriots and Bills will meet for the 91st time since the series between the AFC East rivals began in 1960. The Patriots lead the series 49-40, with one tie. The Patriots' 49 wins over Buffalo are their most over any opponent, six more than they own over the Indianapolis/Baltimore Colts (43). New England has won eight of its last nine games against Buffalo, dating back to the 2000 season. 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.
- Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's defensive game plan from the Giants' Super Bowl XXV win over the Buffalo Bills is permanently on display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
- Bills safety Lawyer Milloy was drafted by the Patriots in the second round (36th overall) in the 1996 NFL draft. He played in 112 games in eight seasons in New England and earned four Pro Bowl nods.
- While Belichick was the head coach at Cleveland, he hired Don Blackmon as the linebackers coach. Blackmon is currently in his third season as the linebackers coach for Buffalo. Blackmon also played for the Patriots for eight seasons (1981-87).
- Bills linebacker London Fletcher was a college teammate of Patriots quarterbacks coach Josh McDaniels and Patriots director of pro personnel Nick Caserio at John Carroll University in 1996 and 1997.
- Patriots wide receivers coach Brian Daboll attended St. Francis High in Buffalo where he lettered in football. He also was a two-year starter at free safety at the University of Rochester.
- Bills defensive backs coach Steve Szabo was a volunteer coach for the Patriots in 2003.
- Bills offensive line coach Jim McNally was the offensive line coach at Boston College from 1975-77.
- Bills defensive tackle Sam Adams' father, Sam Adams, Sr., played for the Patriots for nine seasons (1972-80).
- Patriots assistant secondary coach Joel Collier's father, Joe Collier, was the Bills head coach from 1966-68.
- Bills wide receiver Josh Reed was a four-year teammate of Patriots defensive end Jarvis Green at LSU.
- Bills guard Greg Jerman was born in Hyannis, Mass.
The average number of yards of total offense per game that the
Patriots have accumulated in 2005. New England's total offense
ranks third among all NFL teams.
The Patriots franchise record for average yards of total offense
over a full season, established in 1978.
The rank of the Patriots' passing offense among all AFC teams.
New England is averaging 295.5 passing yards per game.
The number of times in six games this season that the Patriots
have gained 299 or more net passing yards.
The average number of yards per play gained by the Patriots
this season, ranking first in the AFC and second in the NFL.
The number of yards that Tom Brady is on pace to throw for this
The rank Brady would achieve on the NFL's all-time single
season passing yardage list if he keeps up his current pace. Dan
Marino holds the NFL record with 5,084 yards in 1984, and Kurt
Warner ranks second with 4,830 yards in 2001.
The Patriots record for passing yardage in a season, set by Drew
Bledsoe in 1994.
Brady's career high for passing yardage in a season, set in 2002.
Consecutive games in which Adam Vinatieri has played, the third
longest streak in team history, behind only Raymond Clayborn
(161) and Gino Cappelletti (152). Vinatieri has not missed a
game in his 10-year career.
Consecutive games in which Tom Brady has started at
quarterback, the longest consecutive starts streak on the team.
Consecutive games in which Dan Koppen has started at center,
the second longest starting streak on the team.
Consecutive games in which Willie McGinest has started at
outside linebacker, the longest consecutive starts streak on the
Consecutive games played in which Deion Branch has recorded
at least one reception.
Consecutive victories when producing a positive turnover
Consecutive overtime wins (8 games including playoffs).
Consecutive Patriots games televised locally, including
preseason, regular-season and postseason games.
Consecutive sellouts in Foxborough, including preseason,
regular-season and postseason games.
NOTE: All of the above streaks include regular-season games only, unless noted.
BEAST OF THE EAST
The Patriots record against the AFC East since 2001, the best
divisional record among AFC East teams over that span.
The number of games the Patriots played this season before
opening divisional play, setting a franchise record.
The number of their final 10 games that the Patriots will play
against AFC East opponents.
The Patriots have won eight of their last nine games against the
Buffalo Bills, with their only loss over that span coming in the
2003 season opener.
THE KRAFT ERA
The Patriots' record at home since 1994, including preseason,
regular-season and postseason games.
The Patriots' record at Gillette Stadium, including regular-season
and postseason games (.862 win pct).
The Patriots' record in preseason, regular-season and
postseason games since 1996 (.644 win pct).
The Patriots' regular-season record since 1996 (.627 win pct).
The Patriots' postseason record since 1996 (.800 win pct).
THE BELICHICK ERA
Bill Belichick's overall record as head coach of the Patriots,
including the regular season and the playoffs.
Belichick's record with New England when his team scores 25
points or more.
Belichick's record with New England when his team scores 21
points or more.
The number of yards needed by Troy Brown to pass Irving Fryar
(5,726 yards) for second place on the Patriots' all-time receiving
yardage list. Brown enters this week's game with 5,724 career
The number of points needed by kicker Adam Vinatieri to
become the Patriots' all-time leading scorer. His current career
total is 1,100 points. Gino Cappelletti (1960-70) holds the
franchise record with 1,130 points.
The number of sacks needed by Willie McGinest (74.5 sacks) to
pass Julius Adams (79.5 sacks) for second place on the team's
all-time sacks list.
The number of receptions Kevin Faulk needs to pass Tony Collins
(261) for the most receptions by a running back in Patriots
The number of receiving yards needed by Faulk to reach 2,000
for his career. He could become just the third running back in
Patriots history to achieve the milestone (Larry Garron, 2,502
and Tony Collins, 2,356).