By Tim Graham
The New England Patriots probably won't have any household names catching Tom Brady's passes on opening day.
Does that mean the Buffalo Bills will catch a break?
NFL Network reporter Albert Breer explored how much the defending AFC East champs could struggle at the beginning of the season.
To recap a Press Coverage story in which Jim Kelly a couple weeks ago called the Patriots "vulnerable," 88 percent of New England's catches, 87 percent of its yards and 88 percent of its touchdowns are off the roster or hurt. Gone are Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd and Danny Woodhead. Aaron Hernandez is awaiting a murder trial. Rob Gronkowski is recovering from another surgery.
"Three of the quarterback's four best weapons are gone, if you throw Lloyd in there," an unnamed NFC Personnel executive told Breer. "The run game is solid, but how much of that was because of how well they throw it? The defense is just OK. ...
"I think they're average, depending on when Gronk gets back. Teams are gonna be biting at the bit to play them early on."
NFL.com writer Gregg Rosenthal added to the storyline by illustrating how New England has a history of getting better as a season progresses.
Under Bill Belichick, New England has a .595 win percentage in September and a .836 win percentage in December and January.
When the Bills have had success against the Patriots, it has been early in the season.
They would have notched their first victory in Gillette Stadium on opening day 2009 had Leodis McKelvin not fumbled a late kick return.
The Bills ended a 15-game losing streak to the Patriots with a Week Three victory in 2011. The Bills' previous victory over the Patriots was on opening day 2003.
taggedRob Gronkowski | Tom Brady | Wes Welker