The Buffalo Bills are making considerable noise with their early-season success, however their volume routinely gets turned down when they face the New England Patriots.
The Bills, who are off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 2011, will discover how they measure up against the Patriots (3-0) on Sunday when the undefeated AFC East rivals meet in Orchard Park, N.Y.
Buffalo traditionally hasn’t fared well in the matchup. The Bills were swept in the season series in each of the last two years and 14 times since Bill Belichick became the coach of New England in 2000.
That run of success notwithstanding, Belichick kept his guard up when talking to reporters about what his team can expect from the upstart Bills this weekend.
“It’ll be a big challenge for us to go up there,” Belichick said on Wednesday. “Obviously, the Bills are playing well in all three phases of the game. They’ve played well every week. They’ve played their best football in some critical situations, in the fourth quarter against Cincinnati (a 21-17 win on Sunday), against the Jets (a 17-16 victory in Week 1).
“(They have) a lot of explosive players on offense, a lot of experience, cohesiveness and good players on defense, explosive players with experience and playmakers in the kicking game. So, pretty solid across the board.”
Tom Brady is pretty solid in his own right, and he’ll get no argument from Buffalo after defeating the club in 30 of 33 meetings in his career. The six-time Super Bowl champion’s victory total versus the Bills is the most by a quarterback against a single team in NFL history.
Brady continued his winning ways last Sunday by throwing for 306 yards and two touchdowns in New England’s 30-14 victory over the Jets.
The 42-year-old overcame the circus surrounding the departed Antonio Brown to toss one of his two scoring strikes to Julian Edelman, although the reigning Super Bowl MVP left Sunday’s game with a chest/rib injury and didn’t return. Edelman is trending toward playing this weekend after participating in practice on a limited basis Wednesday.
Linebacker Dont’a Hightower (shoulder) also got in a limited practice and is aiming to play for a Patriots’ defense that kept the Jets’ offense in check while allowing the opposition’s lone points via a muffed punt and an interception. New England, in fact, became the first team in the Super Bowl era to prevent a passing or rushing touchdown in each of the first three games of a season.
The Patriots have yielded league lows in points per game (5.7) and yards per contest (199.0, 84.3 fewer than the next closest team — San Francisco).
“It’s unbelievable,” Buffalo coach Sean McDermott told reporters. “I don’t think I’ve ever been around that, ever heard of that to this point in the season. ... (The Patriots have) done some really, really cool things on defense.”
The Bills have done some cool things as well, namely second-year quarterback Josh Allen engineering his fifth fourth-quarter, game-winning drive in his brief career against the Bengals.
“The good thing about this is we haven’t played our best football yet,” the 23-year-old Allen said. “We found ways to win.”
Allen will need to step up his game against an opportunistic Patriots defense, which boasts an NFL-high six interceptions this season — including a league-best three by Devin McCourty.
The ageless Frank Gore will carry the load in the backfield with rookie running back Devin Singletary missing four straight practices since injuring his hamstring in Week 2.
—Field Level Media