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What the Patriots are saying about facing WR Stefon Diggs and the Buffalo Bills' strong pass rush

Buffalo Bills Week 7 Practice at Highmark Stadium, October 19, 2023.
Buffalo Bills Week 7 Practice at Highmark Stadium, October 19, 2023.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is quite familiar with Buffalo, as he will coach in his 47th game against the Bills on Sunday. Holding a 36-10 record against Buffalo, no coach has a better record against the Bills than Belichick.

However, since 2020, the Bills have had the edge over their division rival, going 6-1 against the Patriots, including a 47-17 win in the 2021 Wild Card round. With the Patriots off to a 1-5 record, the Bills are once again favorites going into Sunday's matchup.

Calling Oliver one of the best pass rushers in the league, Belichick said Wednesday that he was focused on ball security against a team that has forced 13 turnovers, the second-most in the NFL.

"Defensively, really good front. Very disruptive up front. Oliver, he's as good as anyone we'll play," Belichick told the New England press. "Lot of turnovers on defense, so ball security will be a top priority for us this week."

Quarterback Mac Jones echoed his coach’s views on the Bills defensive line, saying that he thought they had the best pass rush in the NFL.

"Yeah, I do. They have great players at each spot. In some teams, there might be a really good edge rusher or a really good inside person. But (the Bills) got everybody, so definitely a good group, going to be a big challenge for the offensive line and obviously just operating within the system of our offense," Jones shared.

Belichick will be going for his 300th career win on Sunday. He spoke on the balance of Buffalo's roster, including their special teams unit.

"They have a good kicker, good returner, a couple good special teams players, Neal, Matakevich," Belichick said. "Disruptive front, turn the ball over on defense. And they have a lot of weapons on offense starting with Diggs."

The Bills will wear white jerseys with white pants and white socks in Sunday's AFC East showdown at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.

Stefon Diggs could make NFL history on Sunday. With 100 receiving yards, Diggs will become the fourth player in the Super Bowl era to record 100 or more receiving yards in six of his team's first seven games of a season. Adam Thielen (2018), Marvin Harrison (2000) and Michael Irvin (1995) are the only other receivers to pull off the feat.

If Diggs has six receptions (he is averaging over eight per game in 2023), he will become just the sixth different player in the Super Bowl era with at least six catches in each of his team's first seven games of a season.

Diggs, in his ninth season in the league, is on track for a career year. Safety Jordan Poyer, who knows Diggs well from defending him in training camp and practice, said that despite being frequently double-teamed, Diggs finds ways to get open.

"He's just very competitive, extremely smart … and obviously just as talented as he is, he wants to win," Poyer said. "Most games, everyone is doubling him and he's still finding ways to get 10 catches for a hundred yards being doubled, so it says a lot about him and his work ethic and how far he's come as a person and a player."

One player that the Bills will likely be without this weekend is running back Damien Harris, who exited Sunday's win over the New York Giants with a head and neck injury and is currently in concussion protocol. Mac Jones, who played alongside Harris for two years at Alabama and two in New England, said he reached out to his friend after Sunday's game.

"Yeah, I did see that," Jones said. "Texted him and sounds like he's doing good. Damien's definitely one of my good friends and he's a great football player."

The Bills will take on New England in Foxborough at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Scroll to see photos from the Buffalo Bills Week 7 Practice as the team prepares to take on the New England Patriots.

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