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Greetings from Gillette Stadium

By Tim Graham

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- I just had a chat with ESPN Boston writers Mike Rodak and Field Yates in the Gillette Stadium press box, and their view of today's game certainly doesn't reflect the mood back in Western New York.

Yates noted that if the Buffalo Bills can beat the New England Patriots this afternoon, then the Bills would go from on the rocks to one game out of first place.

Yes, that's true and probably an angle I should have explored this week. But not once was that point raised at One Bills Drive over the past week. Not even the players are thinking so optimistically.

Here is a digest of items about today's game ...

The streak: The Bills have never won in Gillette Stadium, going 0-10. Overall, the Bills have beaten the Patriots once in the past 18 meetings and three times in their past 25 games. The Bills are 41-63-1 all-time against the Patriots.

Weather report: On the drive down US-1 to Gillette Stadium, you still could spot snow banks left over from the nor'easter that blew through New England this week. But conditions are mild today. The forecast for kickoff is 57 degrees, party cloudy, 11 mph winds and a 10 percent chance of rain.

Matchup to watch: Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski on whoever tries to stop him. In five career games against his hometown team, Gronkowski has 27 catches for 418 yards and eight touchdowns. He never has not scored at least one touchdown against the Bills.

Dave Wannstedt's defense is on pace to give up 6,686 yards this year. They allowed a team-record 5,938 yards last year under defensive coordinator George Edwards. They're on pace to break that record by more than seven football fields.

Over their past 10 road games, the Bills have only one pass play over 36 yards. That includes yards after the catch and not limited to distance traveled in the air.

For today's NFL Sunday story, I took an in-depth look at how short Ryan Fitzpatrick's passes are and why the Bills don't go downfield more. Fitzpatrick's average completion travels 4.79 yards in the air, 32nd in the NFL.

C.J. Spiller's lack of carries: In his weekly scouting report, Buffalo News reporter Jay Skurski shared an absurd stat from ESPN Stats and Information. Over the past six weeks, 30 running backs have more carries than Spiller has gotten.

Don't forget about "[BN] the Huddle" tonight: Check out BuffaloNews.com's live webcast at 7:30 p.m. hosted by Skurski and Lauren Mariacher. The postgame recap will include reports from Foxborough and analysis from One News Plaza staffers such as executive sports editor Lisa Wilson and reporters Milt Northrop and Keith McShea.

Buffalo News reporter Mark Gaughan, columnist Jerry Sullivan and I are in the Gillette Stadium press box and photographer James P. McCoy will be on the sidelines.

Today's game will be televised by CBS and shown in Western New York on WIVB Channel 4. For a second straight week, Ian Eagle will handle the play-by-play and Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts will be the analyst.

Bills all-time games versus Patriots: O.J. Simpson rushed for 250 yards in 1973. Eric Moulds had 177 receiving yards in 1998. Fitzpatrick threw for 369 yards in the thrilling victory over the Patriots last year.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham | [email protected]


Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan | [email protected]


Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski | [email protected]

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