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Patriots travel to Buffalo for AFC East showdown

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PATRIOTS(12-2) atBILLS *(4-10)
*Sun., Dec. 26, 2010 - 1:00 p.m. EST
Ralph Wilson Stadium (73,967)

The New England Patriots will be on the road for the last time in the 2010 regular-season when they travel to face AFC East rival Buffalo Bills. The Patriots will attempt to sweep Buffalo for the 20th time and the seventh straight year. The Patriots beat Buffalo 38-30 on Sept. 26 at Gillette Stadium in the first meeting of the year between the two teams. The Patriots, who have won 14 straight games against Buffalo, have not lost a game to the Bills since a 31-0 loss on opening day of the 2003 season (9/7/03). The 14-game win streak is tied for the third longest winning streak over a single opponent in NFL history.

BROADCAST INFORMATION

TELEVISION: This week's game will be broadcast to a regional audience by CBS and can be seen in Boston on WBZ-TV Channel 4.Kevin Harlan will handle play-by-play duties with Solomon Wilcots providing color. The game will be produced by Jim Rikhoff and directed by Bryan Lilley.

LOCAL RADIO:98.5 FM, The Sports Hub, is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. A complete listing of the network's 36 stations can be found here. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 34th 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 27th season as a broadcasting tandem.

PATRIOTS CLINCH PLAYOFF BERTH FOR 12th TIME IN KRAFT'S 17 YEARS OF OWNERSHIPNew England has now qualified for the playoffs 18 times in its 51-year history. The Patriots have earned 12 playoff berths in the 17 seasons since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994, a dramatic contrast to the six total playoff berths that the team earned in its first 34 years of existence. New England has won 12 division crowns and has qualified as a Wild Card team on four occasions (1998, 1994, 1985 and 1976). The Patriots also qualified for the playoffs in 1982 as part of a 16-team tournament following a players' strike.

PATRIOTS HAVE MOST 9-PLUS WIN SEASONS SINCE 2001
The Patriots are the only team in the NFL to have recorded nine or more wins in each of the last 10 seasons. The Patriots claimed their 9th win of the year with a 45-24 win over the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day (11/25).

MOST SEASONS OF 9 WINS SINCE 2001
New England - 10
Pittsburgh - 8
Indianapolis - 8
Philadelphia - 8

PATRIOTS AGAINST TOP TEN SCORING DEFENSES
The Patriots have played an opponent with a top 10 scoring defense (fewest points allowed per game) nine times in 2010 and are 7-2 in those games. The Patriots are averaging 29.6 points per game when playing a defense ranked among the top 10 stingiest in terms of allowing points. While the Patriots are averaging 29.6 points per game against those teams, the rest of the NFL is averaging 16.7 points per game.

SERIES HISTORY
The Patriots and Bills will meet for the 102nd time, with New England holding a 60-40-1 edge following a 38-30 victory in the first meeting of the 2010 season on Sept. 26 at Gillette Stadium.

The Patriots, who have won 14 straight games against Buffalo, have not lost a game to the Bills since a 31-0 loss on opening day of the 2003 season (9/7/03). The 14-game win streak is tied for the third longest winning streak over a single opponent in NFL history.

The series between the AFC East rivals began in 1960. The Patriots' 60 wins over the Bills are their highest victory total over any opponent, nine more than they own over the New York Jets (51). New England has won 14 straight games in the series and has won 19 of its last 21 games against Buffalo dating back to the 2000 season.

The Patriots are 28-21-1 all-time in Buffalo, including 21-15 at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Patriots beat the Bills last season with a come-from-behind 25-24 win on opening night at Gillette Stadium (9/14/9) and then won the re-match at Ralph Wilson Stadium (12/20/09), 17-10. The Patriots will attempt to sweep Buffalo for the 20th time and the seventh straight year.

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.

SERIES TRENDSHome Record...32-19
- Record in Foxborough...26-14
- Foxboro Stadium...17-14
- Gillette Stadium...9-0
- Record in Boston...6-5
Away Record...28-21-1
- War Memorial Stadium...7-6-1
- Ralph Wilson/Rich Stadium...21-15
Largest Margin of Victory...46 points (2007)
Largest Margin of Defeat...35 points (1970)
Longest Win Streak...14 games (current streak)
Bill Belichick vs. Buffalo Bills...19-3 (19-2 with N.E)

PATRIOTS - BILLS QUICK HITS

  • New England has won 14 straight games against Buffalo, their longest series winning streak against an opponent.
  • The Patriots are 21-15 all-time at Ralph Wilson Stadium, including wins in their last six trips to Buffalo.
  • Bill Belichick is 9-1 at Buffalo as head coach of the Patriots.
  • The Patriots are 7-2 at Buffalo in the month of December and 8-1 at Buffalo when the temperature is below 40 degrees.
  • The Patriots have defeated the Bills 19 times in the last 21 games between the teams dating back to 2000.
  • The Patriots have won ten straight games against Buffalo at home, including a perfect 9-0 record at Gillette Stadium.
  • The Patriots have recorded 60 wins over the Bills, the most by the Patriots against any one opponent.

DIVISIONAL DOMINANCE
The New England Patriots own a 46-14 (.767) record in regular season AFC East games since the beginning of the 2001 season, compiling the best intra-division record of any team in the NFL over the last nine seasons. The Patriots are 3-1 so far in 2010 against the AFC east.

SERIES SUCCESS
The Patriots extended their win streak to 14 games over Buffalo with a 38-30 win on Sept. 26, 2010. The 14-game win streak over a single opponent is tied for the third longest streak in NFL history.

PASSING PERFORMANCES
Tom Brady has led the Patriots to 16 regular season victories over the Bills, recording his highest regular season victory total over any opponent. Brady has compiled 12 consecutive victories over the Bills, marking his longest regular-season winning streak over any opponent. Additionally, Brady has thrown for more touchdowns (36) against Buffalo than any other opponent.

BRADY AGAINST THE AFC EASTAs a starter against the AFC East, Tom Brady owns a 42-11 (.792) record. He is 16-1 against Buffalo, 13-4 against the New York Jets, 11-6 against Miami and was 2-0 against Indianapolis when they were in the AFC East (2001 season).

CONNECTIONS

NEW ENGLAND TIES

  • Buffalo Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick played his college football at Harvard from 2001-04.

FORMER TEAMMATES

  • New England Patriots RB Sammy Morris and Buffalo Bills Defensive Coordinator George Edwardswere both members of the Miami Dolphins for the 2005-06 seasons.
  • Patriots RB Fred Taylor and Bills DE Marcus Stroud spent seven seasons together on the Jacksonville Jaguars, from 2001-07.

FORMER BILLS

  • New England Patriots RB Sammy Morris was drafted by the Bills with the 156th pick in the 2000 NF Draft.

FORMER PATRIOTS

  • Buffalo Bills Defensive Quality Control Coach Adrian White spent his final year as a player in the NFL with the Patriots in 1993.
  • Buffalo LB Pierre Woods spent his first four seasons (2006-09) and part of a fifth (2010) as a member of the New England Patriots.

FORMER COLLEGE TEAMMATES

  • New England Patriots OL Rich Ohrnberger and Buffalo Bills LB Aaron Maybinwere teammates at Penn State from 2006-08.
  • Patriots backup QB Brian Hoyer and Bills FB Jehuu Caulcrick played together at Michigan State from 2005-07.
  • Patriots LB Gary Guyton and Bills OL Cordaro Howard were teammates at Georgia Tech from 2005-06.
  • Bills Head Coach Chan Gailey was the head coach at Georgia Tech from 2002-07, and Guyton and Howard played for him during their time with the Yellow Jackets.
  • New England S Patrick Chung and Buffalo S Jairus Byrd were four-year teammates at Oregon from 2005-08. The two were also drafted just eight picks apart in the 2009 NFL Draft, with Chung going to the Patriots with the 34th overall pick and Byrd to the Bills at No. 42.
  • Patriots OL Matt Lightand Bills LB Akin Ayodele were college teammates at Purdue from 1999-2000. Ayodele was also a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars with Patriots RB Fred Taylor and LB Tracy White.
  • Patriots DL Myron Pryor and Bills WR Steve Johnsonwere teammates at Kentucky from 2006-07.

NFL'S TOP DECEMBER RECORD SINCE 2001
The Patriots have an NFL-best 36-5 record in the month of December since the 2001 season, including a 4-0 record in 2010.

Rk Team Record
(1) New England Patriots, 36-5
(2) Philadelphia Eagles, 32-10
(3) Pittsburgh Steelers, 30-13
(4) San Diego Chargers, 28-16
(5) Indianapolis Colts, 28-15

TOUGH AT HOME
The Patriots own an overall record of 66-13 (.835) at Gillette Stadium. Since their state-of-the-art facility opened at the beginning of the 2002 season, the Patriots own the NFL's best record at home.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

BY THE NUMBERS

2
The number of kickoff returns that WR Brandon Tate has returned for a touchdown in 2010 after he returned a 97-yard kickoff for a touchdown vs. Cincinnati (9/12) and a 103-yard kickoff for a touchdown at Miami (10/4). Tate is the first Patriots' player to return two kicks for a touchdown in a season since Kevin Faulk returned two for a touchdown in 2002. The Patriots' record for most returns in a single season is three by Raymond Clayborn in 1977.

2
The number of blocked kicks recorded by S Patrick Chung in 2010 after he blocked a punt and a field goal in the Patriots win at Miami (10/4). He is the first NFL player to block a field goal and a punt in the same game since CB Ramon Walker of Houston blocked a field goal and a punt vs. New England on Nov. 23, 2003.

4The number of interceptions that the Patriots have returned for a touchdown in 2010 after LB Gary Guyton returned an interception 59 yards for a score vs. Cincinnati (9/12), S Patrick Chung returned an int. 51 yards for a score at Miami (10/4), S James Sanders returned an int. 32 yards for a touchdown at Pittsburgh (11/14), and CB Kyle Arrington returned an int. 36 yards for score vs. Green Bay (12/19).

6The number of interceptions by CB Devin McCourty in 2010. It is the second most interceptions by a rookie in Patriots history to Mike Haynes (8) in 1976.

7
The number of touchdown receptions by rookie TE Rob Gronkowski in 2010, a record for most touchdown catches by a rookie tight end in Patriots history. The only other rookie tight ends in NFL history to have more touchdowns were Mike Ditka (12) and Junior Miller (9).

12
The number of rushing touchdowns in 2010 by BenJarvus Green-Ellis, establishing a career high. His previous best was the five he had as a rookie in 2008. He is the first Patriots player with 10-plus rushing touchdowns since Corey Dillon had 13 in 2006.

31.9The number of points the Patriots are averaging in 2010, the highest in the NFL. The Patriots are on pace to finish with 510 points, which would be second in team history to the 589 scored in 2007.

71
The number of yards Dan Connolly gained on a second quarter kickoff return vs. Green Bay (12/19). It is the longest kickoff return by an offensive lineman in NFL history.

77
The number of consecutive regular-season games that Welker has caught at least one pass. He has caught at least one pass in all 63 games as a member of the Patriots, including three postseason games.

JEROD MAYO BY THE NUMBERS

181
The number of total tackles by LB Jerod Mayo. He is on pace to finish the season with 207 tackles. That number would be the highest since LB Steve Nelson had 207 tackles in 1984.

TOM BRADY NUMBERS

6
The number of times that Brady has finished a season with 25 or more touchdowns. He is the sixth QB in NFL history to have 25 or more touchdown passes in at least six different seasons.

8
The number of times Tom Brady has passed for 3,000 or more yards in a season, a franchise record for most 3,000-yard seasons. He currently has 3,561 passing yards in 2010.

17The number of times Tom Brady has earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. He earned the award in back-to-back weeks in 2010: at Detroit (11/25) and vs. NY Jets (12/6).

27The number of consecutive regular season starts that Tom Brady has won at Gillette Stadium, setting an NFL record for most consecutive home wins by a starting quarterback in the regular-season.

31The number of touchdown passes thrown by Brady in 2010 to tie for the NFL lead. He became just the 12th player since the 1970 merger to have at least two 30 touchdown seasons. He had 50 in 2007.

34
The number of regular season 300-yard passing games by Tom Brady, a team record. Brady's seven 300-yard games in 2009 moved him past Drew Bledsoe (26) for the team record.

80
The number of times that Brady has thrown two or more touchdowns in a game. The Patriots are 68-12 when he throws for two or more touchdowns.

109The number of wins that Brady has as a starting quarterback. He reached the 100-win milestone in the fewest number of starts (131) among all quarterbacks in the modern era.

THE KRAFT ERA

3
The number of Super Bowl championships the Patriots have won since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. That mark is the highest total in the NFL over that span. Only Denver (2; 1997 and 1998) and Pittsburgh (2; 2005 and 2008) have won multiple Super Bowl titles since 1994.

5
The number of conference championships the Patriots have won since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. That mark is the highest total in the NFL over that span. Pittsburgh is second with three conference titles since 1994.

12
The number of playoff seasons earned by the Patriots in the 17 seasons since Robert Kraft purchased the team.

17
The number of playoff games the Patriots have won since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. That mark is the highest total in the NFL over that span. Pittsburgh ranks second with 15 playoff wins over that span.

25
The number of playoff games the Patriots have appeared in since 1994. The mark is the highest in the NFL, ahead of the 23 games played by Pittsburgh.

179
The number of consecutive home games the Patriots have sold out, a streak that includes every preseason, regular season and playoff game since the 1994 regular season opener.

THE BELICHICK ERA

4
Bill Belichick is one of just four coaches to win three championships since the Super Bowl era began. Belichick joins three members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the exclusive club (Chuck Noll 4, Joe Gibbs 3 and Bill Walsh 3). Belichick is the only coach to win three Super Bowls in the post-1993 salary cap era and the only one to ever win three in four years.

175
Bill Belichick has 175 career victory as a head coach, including playoff games. Belichick passed Mike Holmgren to move into sole possession of 10th place in all-time coaching victories.

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