3 key matchups to watch: Patriots vs Bills

New England Patriots running back Rex Burkhead dives in for a touchdown as Buffalo Bills strong safety Micah Hyde and free safety Jordan Poyer try to stop him during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday Dec. 3 2017 in Orchard

So how about the cold truth instead?

"I understand what you're getting at there, " McDermott said, referring to Buffalo's struggles against New England. They play Indianapolis next week before finishing the season with two games against the Dolphins and another on the road against the Pats.

Brady has won 14 of those games in Buffalo, tying former teammate Drew Bledsoe for the most by a quarterback at New Era Field (formerly Ralph Wilson Stadium) since 2001.

The Patriots have turned to the Bills to fill several holes on their roster in recent years, with Lee the most recent example.

But who would have thought that neither of these teams would score a first-half touchdown on Sunday. Defensive tackles Kyle Williams and Adolphus Washington each sacked Brady in the red zone to force field goals. As a whole, the secondary was fantastic, limiting Tyrod Taylor and Nathan Peterman to a combined 115 passing yards. Sunday's game was the eighth straight in which the Pats allowed 17 points or fewer. Buffalo is now 6-5 and appears to be back in the thick of things in the AFC playoff race, making Sunday's matchup all the more intriguing. If the Bills don't get their offense in order, and quick, they can kiss the postseason goodbye. Nate Solder allowed Brady's first sack and Joe Thuney was culpable for the next two. Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore returned to Buffalo for the first time since leaving the team in free agency during the offseason.


This is not a "thing", per se, because, again, the Patriots rolled and the offense worked fine enough to beat the Bills.

Still, it seemed a matter of time before Gronk, who had 28 yards receiving at halftime, asserted himself. It's a run during which Brady has completed 176 of 253 attempts for 1,975 yards with 16 touchdowns and three interceptions. If the Pats weren't in control in the first two quarters, they were with a 16-3 lead in the third.

LeSean McCoy had 93 of the Bills' 183 rushing yards. The Patriots had scored at least 13 points in the first half of their previous 11 games. The 2010 first-round pick earned one Pro Bowl selection during his five years in Buffalo before signing a lucrative contract to join the dark side.

Buffalo can keep their playoff hopes alive with a win, whereas New England can guarantee yet another double-digit win season if they pull it off.

Chalk it up to Bill Belichick to pluck another Bill player and turn him into a useful asset.

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