The Patriots are 3-0 atop the AFC East heading into Sunday's divisional battle with Rex Ryan's supposedly suddenly-dangerous Bills (1-2).
New England, which has beaten Buffalo in 14 of the last 15 meetings in Foxborough, has gotten to this point with two young, inexperienced quarterbacks pretty much splitting the three games down the middle. But, both fill-in backup Jimmy Garoppolo and third-round rookie Jacoby Brissett, are battling injuries.
Garoppolo was inactive last week due to the reported AC sprain he suffered in the second quarter of the Week 2 win over the Dolphins. Brissett reportedly suffered a sprained thumb on his right hand in the second half of last Thursday night's win over the Texans.
Both guys were on the practice field on Tuesday as New England began preparations for Buffalo. Both are clearly topics that the media wants to talk about given the two players' uncertain health and status for Sunday.
But in his Wednesday morning press conference in the media workroom at Gillette Stadium Bill Belichick took his usual deflective approach when asked for an update on Brissett's thumb injury.
"Yeah, it [injury report] will come out after practice today. You'll have it," Belichick said.
The New England coach was a bit more informative on a few other topics during his morning presser, including a raving review of what the Bills will bring to the field on Sunday in Foxborough.
Here are a few highlights from Belichick's traditional Wednesday morning game-week presser.
1. Winning is not losing: Sometimes teams are beaten by a superior opponent. Other times, though, teams lose games in many ways thanks to their own undoing. While New England is on the winning side of the ledger more often than not, the Patriots also rarely lose games thanks to their own mistakes. Belichick has preached for years that before you can win games in the NFL you have to avoid losing them. He did it again today when asked whether his program in Foxborough was more based on teaching players to win or not to lose?
"Well, both. You can't win them until you can teach them to not lose them, but you can't dig a hole and win games either. I mean you've got to attack, so both," Belichick said.
2. Bills a "very explosive team":Buffalo heads to New England coming off its first win of the season, a solid, 33-18 home win over the Cardinals. That came a week after a tough 37-31 loss to the Jets. After scoring just seven points in the opening loss to Baltimore, and having fired its offensive coordinator, Buffalo is now a team that Belichick sees a lot of offensive options from on film, and really throughout the entire roster.
"We've had a chance obviously to see the Arizona game. This was a very good performance by Buffalo last week. [They're] a good football team, do a lot of things well, a very explosive team, so we've got a lot to get ready for here," Belichick declared. "I think offensively they've shown that they can pretty much score from anywhere on the field with a lot of different guys – quarterback, the running backs, the tight end, the receivers; all very explosive, all big-play guys. It's a big, physical offensive line. They do a good job of running the ball. Defensively, again, [they] made big plays in that area, too. The strip against the Jets they ran back for a touchdown, four interceptions last week, a lot of different pass-rush schemes, so we'll have to have a really good week of preparation there. Strong in the kicking game, do a good job of directional kicking. [Brandon] Tate has had some good field position plays for them. I mean obviously the return against Arizona was a big play in that game, another special team's score, so a score on defense, a score on special teams and a lot of explosive plays on offense. It's a tough team to get ready for. You're going to have to do a good job, play 60 minutes of good football, so no chance to relax against these guys. They can make big plays in all three phases of the game."
3. What mockery?: Ryan opened his Monday press conference in Buffalo with seemingly a Belichick-like reference to the injury report being out on Wednesday. Many in New England took the gesture by the Bills boss as mocking his future Hall of Fame Patriots counterpart. Ryan has often referenced Belichick over the years, famously saying he wasn't going to kiss the coach's Super Bowl rings, among other things.
Belichick was asked about Ryan's antics, but not surprisingly didn't fuel the potentially tantalizing topic with his response.
"I'm just focused on getting ready for the Bills. I'm not really in tune to all of that. I'm sure it's important to you guys but it's not really anything I spend much time with," Belichick said.