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What to watch for: Patriots at Bills

Posted Sep 5, 2013

An in-depth look inside the Bills-Patriots matchup

BILLS-PATRIOTS SERIES

Buffalo and New England will meet for the 106th time in the regular season this week. The Bills are 41-63-1 all-time against the Patriots.

Sunday’s game will mark the ninth time the two teams will have met on Kickoff Weekend. The Week One series between the two teams is split at 4-4, with the Bills holding a 3-2 mark in home games.

The September series between Buffalo and New England is an even 10-10.

BILLS-PATRIOTS SERIES HIGHS
Rushing Yards
Bills: 250, O.J. Simpson 9/16/73 @ NE
Patriots: 185, Jim Nance 9/24/67 @ BUF

Receiving Yards
Bills: 177, Eric Moulds 11/29/98 @ NE
Patriots: 217, Wes Welker 9/25/11 @ BUF

Passing Yards
Bills: 369, Ryan Fitzpatrick 9/25/11 @ BUF
Patriots: 387, Tom Brady 9/25/11 @ BUF

NOTABLE CONNECTIONS
FORMER BILLS/PATRIOTS
• Bills OT Thomas Welch was originally drafted by New England in 2010.
• Buffalo TE Lee Smith was the 159th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft to the Patriots.
• New England LB Chris White spent his first two years in the NFL with Buffalo before being released prior to the 2013 season. He was the team’s sixth-round (169th overall) draft selection in 2011.

AREA CONNECTIONS
• Patriots offensive coaching assistant Brian Daboll is a Buffalo, N.Y. native.

NFL CONNECTIONS
• Current Bills HC and then Saints OC Doug Marrone coached Patriots DE Rob Ninkovich in New Orleans from 2006-08.
• Bills STC Danny Crossman coached with Patriots ST coach Scott O’Brien in Carolina from 2003-04. Crossman was a special teams assistant, while O’Brien served as assistant head coach and special teams coach.
• Bills WR coach Ike Hilliard and Patriots offensive assistant coach Brian Daboll coached together in Miami in 2011. Hilliard served as the assistant wide receivers coach, while Daboll was the Dolphins’ offensive coordinator.
• Bills OL coach Pat Morris coached with Patriots WR coach Chad O’Shea in Minnesota from 2006-08. Morris served the same position, while O’Shea was an offensive assistant and wide receivers coach.

COLLEGE CONNECTIONS
• Patriots DE Chandler Jones (2008-11) played at Syracuse, where current Bills HC Doug Marrone served the same position from 2009-12 and current assistant strength and condition coach Hal Luther served as director of strength & conditioning from 2000-12.
• Buffalo LS Garrison Sanborn played with Patriots RB Leon Washington at Florida State from 2003-05.
• Bills LB Kiko Alonso and Patriots RB LaGarrette Blount were teammates at Oregon in 2009.
• Bills CB Ron Brooks and Patriots RB Stevan Ridley competed together at LSU from 2008-10.
• Bills DT Corbin Bryant was teammates with Patriots CB Marquice Cole at Northwestern in 2006.
• Bills DT Marcell Dareus competed with Patriots LB Dont’a Hightower at Alabama from 2008-09.
• Bills TE Chris Gragg was teammates with Patriots DE Jake Bequette and QB Ryan Mallet during the 2008 season at Arkansas.
• Bills LB Jerry Hughes played with Patriots WR Josh Boyce and OT Marcus Cannon at Texas Christian in 2009.
• Bills S Duke Williams shared a locker room at Nevada with Patriots TE Zach Sudfeld from 2009-12.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR ...

OFFENSE
QB EJ Manuel
• With a start on Sunday, Manuel would become the 13th quarterback selected in the first round since the 2000 Draft to make their starting debut on Kickoff Weekend

QB Jeff Tuel
• If Tuel starts against New England, he would become the first undrafted rookie free agent quarterback to start a Week One game in the common draft era since 1967

RB C.J. Spiller
• 27 yards from scrimmage to record 3,000 in his NFL career
• 100 rushing yards to join Thurman Thomas (1991-93) as the only running backs in team history to open back-to-back seasons with 100 yard performances

RB Fred Jackson
• One rushing touchdown to mark the 20th of his career
• One 100-yard rushing game to record the 15th of his career and move into sole-possession of third-most in Bills books (Willis McGahee)
• 17 yards from scrimmage to tally 6,000 in his career
• 215 rushing yards to surpass Joe Cribbs (4,445) for third in team history

WR Stevie Johnson
• Will record the 250th catch of his career with his next reception
• One touchdown catch to tally 26 in his NFL career and to move into sole possession of seventh on the team’s touchdown reception list

DEFENSE
DE Mario Williams
• 1.5 sacks to register 65.0 in his NFL career

DT Kyle Williams
• Will appear in his 100th game and make his 95th start this week
• 1.5 sacks to become the 11th Bill with 20 or more in their career

FS Jairus Byrd
• One multi-interception game to become the third Bill with five multi-pick games (Tom Janik - 6 and Billy Atkins - 5)

SPECIAL TEAMS
LS Garrison Sanborn
• Will play in his 65th career game on Sunday

P Shawn Powell
• One punt inside-the-20 to match Wayne Crow’s mark of 24 for 10th-most in team history