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Bill Belichick preparing for a Jets defense Sunday at The Ralph

By Tim Graham

When it comes to strategizing for the Buffalo Bills' new-look defense, Bill Belichick won't have to take a stab in the dark.

Belichick submitted his New England Patriots have been preparing for this Bills defense twice a year since 2009, when defensive coordinator Mike Pettine was with the New York Jets.

The uniforms and personnel will be changed, but Belichick doesn't sound like someone without a guess.

"This looks a lot like the Jets defense, just different, different players, and schematically it's similar to what we've seen from the Jets," Belichick said Tuesday on a conference call with Patriots reporters. "This year, Buffalo looks like the Jets schematically."

Pettine has worked under Rex Ryan since 2005 with the Baltimore Ravens, where Ryan was defensive coordinator. When Ryan became Jets head coach four years ago, he made Pettine his defensive coordinator.

The Patriots averaged 29.4 points in nine games against the Jets with Pettine as defensive coordinator. Over the last six meetings, the Patriots averaged 35.2 points.

That'd be an upgrade for the Bills, who've surrendered an average of 46.0 points to the Patriots their past three meetings.

Belichick said he has been studying Jets game film to prepare for the Bills. Of course, the Bills don't have elite cornerbacks such as Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie.

"I would imagine that whatever the Jets did, Buffalo is certainly capable of doing from a scheme standpoint, whether they’ve shown it or not," Belichick said. "We have to be aware of some of those things.

"Again, I think that's part of the whole unknown of opening day. We go back and find a million things to work on just like I'm sure Buffalo could, too, if they go back however far back they want to go on the Patriots stuff. I'm sure that there's plenty of stuff in there somewhere; it's just a question of what you think you need to stop and how much time you want to put into the different aspects of the game plan."


Bill Belichick | Mike Pettine
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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 |

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 |

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 |