NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (4-1) at BUFFALO BILLS (2-4)
Sunday, October 22, 2006 1:00 PM EDT
Ralph Wilson Stadium (73,967)
The Patriots return to action following their bye week with a divisional matchup against the Bills in Buffalo on Sunday. New England has won 11 of its last 12 games against Buffalo and will bid for its third straight season sweep of the Bills. This week's game begins a two-game road swing for the Patriots, with a trip to Minnesota for a Monday night tilt against the Vikings next up on the schedule.
TELEVISION: This week's game will be broadcast by CBS. The game can be seen in Boston on WBZ-TV Channel 4. Greg Gumbel will handle play-by-play and Dan Dierdorf will provide analysis.
RADIO: WBCN 104.1 FM is the flagship station for the Patriots Rock Radio Network. A complete listing of the network's stations can be found here. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 30th season as the voice of the Patriots and will call the action along with Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti for the 23rd season.
The Patriots have begun the 2006 season with a 4-1 record, marking their second fastest start to a season after five games since Bill Belichick became head coach in 2000. The only time the team has held a better five-game record with Belichick as the head coach was in 2004, when they started the year with a 5-0 record. New England has won as many as four of its first five games for the eighth time in the franchise's 47-season history.
MILESTONE IN SIGHT
Troy Brown needs just six more catches to pass Stanley Morgan as the Patriots' alltime leading receiver. Brown enters this week's game with 529 career receptions, standing five catches behind Morgan's team-record 534 receptions (1977-89). Morgan has held the Patriots' receptions record since Nov. 11, 1984, when he recorded his 293rd career reception in a 38-10 victory over the Buffalo Bills at Sullivan Stadium in Foxborough, passing Gino Cappelletti's then-record of 292 catches.
This week, the Patriots and Bills will meet for the 93rd time since the series between the AFC East rivals began in 1960. The Patriots lead the series 52-40, with one tie. The Patriots' 52 wins over Buffalo are their most over any opponent, seven more than they own over the New York Jets (45). New England has won 11 of its last 12 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. The Patriots have been successful on the road against the Bills in recent years, winning five of their last six games in Buffalo while compiling a 17-15 overall record at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
PATRIOTS - BILLS QUICK HITS
- The Patriots have won 11 of their last 12 games against Buffalo and are 18-6 in their last 24 meetings.
- The Patriots have recorded 52 wins over the Bills, the most against any opponent.
- New England has won six straight games against Buffalo and has swept the season series in each of the last two seasons.
- Bill Belichick holds an 11-3 career record against Buffalo, including an 11-2 record as head coach of the Patriots.
- The Patriots and Bills have played in 19 games decided by three points or fewer since 1972.
- Since 1993, the two teams have played five overtime games, good for a total of 51:49 of extra time, almost equaling an entire game.
- The Patriots defense has held the Bills to a touchdown or less in three of the last six games between the teams.
The Patriots have won four straight regular-season road games and have won five of their last six contests away from Foxborough. The last time New England lost on the road was on Nov. 27, 2005, dropping a 26-16 decision at Kansas City. Since that time, the Patriots have outscored their opponents 128-58 in four straight road wins, averaging 32.0 points per game while allowing just 14.5 points per game.
- Bills head coach Dick Jauron is a native of Swampscott, Mass. and was a three-sport standout at Swampscott High, where he was named one of the top 10 Massachusetts prep athletes of the 20th Century by the Boston Globe.
- Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was the Detroit Lions' assistant special teams coach from 1976-77, while Bills head coach Dick Jauron played safety for Detroit.
- Dick Jauron was the head coach of the Chicago Bears when Patriots linebacker Rosevelt Colvin played for Chicago from 1999-2002.
- Bills linebacker London Fletcher-Baker was a college teammate of Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Patriots director of pro personnel Nick Caserio at John Carroll University in 1996 and 1997.
- Bills wide receiver Andre Davis played in nine games with four starts for the Patriots in 2005 after being acquired from the Cleveland Browns via trade on Aug. 22, 2005. Davis signed with Buffalo as an unrestricted free agent on Mar. 12, 2006.
- Bills offensive line coach Jim McNally was the offensive line coach at Boston College from 1975-77.
- Patriots secondary coach Joel Collier's father, Joe Collier, was the Bills' head coach from 1966-68.
- Patriots linebacker Junior Seau played at Southern California from 1988-89 while Bills assistant head coach/special teams Bobby April was the Trojans' secondary/kicking coach.
- Patriots linebacker Don Davis played for the St. Louis Rams from 2001-02 when Bills linebackers coach Matt Sheldon was the Rams' defensive assistant/quality control.
- Bills wide receiver Josh Reed was a four-year teammate of Patriots defensive end Jarvis Green at LSU.
- Bills running back Anthony Thomas was a teammate of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady at Michigan from 1997-99.
- Bills linebacker Liam Ezekiel is a native of Arlington, Mass., and attended Arlington High and Northeastern University.
- Bills guard Greg Jerman was born in Hyannis, Mass.
- Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork played three seasons at the University of Miami (2001-2003) with Bills wide receiver Roscoe Parish and running back Willis McGahee including the Hurricanes' National Championship season in 2001.
- Patriots offensive tackle Ryan O'Callaghan and linebacker Tully Banta-Cain played at the University of California with Bills offensive lineman Aaron Merz.
- Patriots offensive lineman Russ Hochstein and Bills defensive end Chris Kelsay played together at the University of Nebraska from 1998-2000.
- Patriots long snapper Lonnie Paxton and Bills fullback Daimon Shelton were teammates at Sacramento State University in 1996.
- Patriots offensive tackle Wesley Britt and Bills running back Shaud Williams played together at the University of Alabama from 2002-2003.
- Seven current Patriots and Bills played college football at Louisianna State University. They are Patriots running back Kevin Faulk (1995-1998), defensive lineman Jarvis Green (1998-2001), linebacker Eric Alexander (2000-2003) and defensive end Marquise Hill (2001-2003) and Bills tight end Robert Royal (1997-2001), wide receiver Josh Reed (1998- 2001) and defensive tackle Kyle Williams (2002-2005).
BEAST OF THE EAST
The New England Patriots own a 28-7 record in AFC East games since the beginning of the 2001 season, compiling the best intradivision record of any team in the NFL over the last five-plus seasons. The Patriots have claimed four of the last five AFC East championships, and along with the Philadelphia Eagles are the only teams in the NFL to have won four division titles in the last five years. Since 2001, the Patriots are 13-4 in divisional games on the road.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
WHERE THEY RANK
The Patriots' NFL rank in punt return defense, allowing opponents an average of just 3.4 yards per punt return.
Kevin Faulk's NFL rank in punt return average, recording a 13.5- yard average on his 10 punt returns.
Laurence Maroney's rank among all NFL rookie running backs, totaling 332 yards on 78 carries (4.3 avg) through five games. Indianapolis' Joseph Addai is second with 281 yards.
The Patriots' NFL rank in sacks allowed per pass play, allowing just five total sacks on 162 pass plays.
The Patriots' NFL rank in first downs per game, recording a total of 108 first downs through five games.
The Patriots' NFL rank in touchbacks on kickoffs, having recorded seven touchbacks through five games.
Tom Brady's NFL rank in touchdown passes, having tossed eight scoring passes through five games. He is tied for the mark with Indianapolis' Peyton Manning.
The Patriots' NFL rank in rushing yards per game, averaging 139.0 rushing yards per contest.
6,150The number of career receiving yards for Troy Brown, making him the second player in franchise history to reach the 6,000- yard mark (Stanley Morgan, 10,352).
6The number of receptions Brown needs to pass Stanley Morgan (534 career receptions) to become the Patriots' all-time leader.
The number of seasons in which Brown has donned a Patriots uniform, tying Bruce Armstrong and Steve Nelson for the second longest Patriots tenure, trailing only Steve Grogan (16 seasons).
The number of current NFL players who have been with their respective teams for more than the 14 seasons Brown has been a Patriot (Brett Favre, GB, and Jason Hanson, DET;15 seasons).
THE HEAD COACH
The number of years Bill Belichick has been an NFL coach, making him the longest tenured coach among the NFL's 32 head coaches.
The number of head coaches in the NFL or college who were assistant coaches under Belichick (Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Nick Saban, Charlie Weis, Kirk Ferentz, Pat Hill and Al Groh).
Belichick's record in New England when the Patriots score 25 points or more.
Belichick's record in New England when the Patriots score 21 points or more.
The number of consecutive games the Patriots have played since they last lost back-to-back games, dating back to December 2002. The streak is the second longest in NFL history. The San Francisco 49ers set the NFL record by going 60 games without losing two in a row from 1995-99.
The number of consecutive 9 win seasons for the Patriots, the longest current streak in the NFL.
The number of consecutive Patriots overtime victories, the longest current streak in the NFL.
The number of career receptions by Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel (including playoffs). All eight receptions have been for touchdowns.
The number of consecutive games, including playoffs, that Tom Brady has started at quarterback.
The number of consecutive home games that the Patriots have sold out. The streak includes preseason, regular-season and playoff games and dates back to the 1994 regular-season opener.
THE DILLON FACTOR
Corey Dillon's career rushing yardage total, the highest total among any player on a current 53-man active roster.
The Patriots' record in games in which Dillon has played since joining the Patriots prior to the 2004 season.
The Patriots record in games Dillon has missed during his Patriots tenure.
Corey Dillon's average yards per carry since joining the Patriots (2,649 yards on 622 rushes).
THE KRAFT ERA
4The number of times the Patriots have appeared in the Super Bowl since Robert Kraft bought the team in 1994. No other team has made more than two Super Bowl appearances in that span.
The number of playoff victories for the Patriots since 1994, more than any other team in the NFL during that span.
134-81The Patriots' overall record since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994 (including postseason), a .623 winning percentage.
The Patriots' record at home since 1994, including regularseason and postseason games, a winning percentage of .710.
The Patriots' record at Gillette Stadium, including regular-season and postseason games (.821 win pct).
The Patriots' home playoff record since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. In the franchise's first 34 seasons, the team was 0-1 at home in the playoffs.