Patriots

Everything you need to know before Sunday’s Patriots-Bills game

Rob Gronkowski New England Patriots
Rob Gronkowski is tackled by Buffalo Bills safety Jordan Poyer during the second half. AP Photo/Adrian Kraus, File

Bills (8-6) at Patriots (11-3)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Opening line: Patriots by 12

Record vs. spread: Patriots 9-5, Bills 8-5-1

Series record: Patriots lead 71-43-1

Last meeting: Patriots beat Bills 23-3, Dec. 3

Last week: Patriots beat Steelers 27-24; Bills beat Dolphins 24-16

AP Pro32 ranking: Patriots No. 1, Bills No. 15

Bills offense: Overall (29), rush (6), pass (32)

Bills defense: Overall (23), rush (25), pass (17)

Patriots offense: Overall (2), rush (16), pass (1)

Patriots defense: Overall (29), rush (26), pass (29)

Streaks, stats, and notes

  • The two teams are meeting for the 116th time — their second this season.

Bills

  • The Bills are in contention to break their 17-year playoff drought and would not be eliminated with a loss to the Patriots. The drought is the longest active streak in North America’s four major professional sports. The Bills are tied for having fifth-longest drought in NFL history, and the longest since the NFL merger in 1970.
  • To keep its playoff hopes alive, Buffalo has won its last two games. In those victories, the team’s six drives into the red zone produced five touchdowns and a field goal.
  • Running back LeSean McCoy leads the Bills with 1,057 yards rushing and six touchdowns. He also has two receiving TDs. McCoy has accounted for eight of the 26 touchdowns scored by the Bills’ offense this season. His 1,407 yards from scrimmage, including 350 receiving, make up a third of Buffalo’s net yards.
  • Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin had 104 receiving yards in his only career game against Patriots on Oct. 1, 2017, when Benjamin was a member of the Carolina Panthers.
  • Safety Micah Hyde had a career-high 12 tackles in the Bills’ last meeting with Patriots.
  • Rookie cornerback Tre’Davious White had an interception that sparked Rob Gronkowski’s late hit during the teams’ last meeting. He has three interceptions in the Bills’ past four games.
  • Buffalo is 7-2 when it tops 100 yards rushing.
  • Fantasy Tip: In five career games against New England, McCoy has 510 scrimmage yards (102 per game) with three TDs (two rushing, one receiving).

Patriots

  • The Patriots wrapped up ninth consecutive AFC East title with last week’s win over Pittsburgh. They can lock up a first-round bye this week with a win combined and either a Pittsburgh or Jacksonville loss. If the Patriots win and both of those teams lose, New England will secure home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs.
  • New England has won at least 12 games 11 times in team history, including seven straight seasons.
  • The Patriots’ 71 wins over Bills are the most against any one opponent.
  • Sunday is Rob Gronkowski’s first game against the Bills since he served a one-game suspension for his late hit to the head of White. Gronk was the AFC Offensive Player of Week for his performance in the team’s win over Pittsburgh. He had nine receptions for a career-high 168 yards. It pushed his 2017 total to 1,017 yards — his fourth 1,000-yard season.
  • Tom Brady leads the NFL with 4,163 passing yards and ranks third with a 104.0 passer rating. Brady has 27-3 regular-season record against Bills — his highest win total over any opponent. He’s also thrown for more touchdowns (66) against Bills than any other opponent.
  • Dion Lewis has 230 scrimmage yards (115 per game) with a rushing touchdown in his past two games against Buffalo. He leads the team with a career-high 674 rushing yards.
  • Brandin Cooks has three touchdowns catches in the past five games.
  • Duron Harmon has three interceptions in the past five games.
  • Elandon Roberts has two sacks and a forced fumble in the Patriots’ past two home games against division opponents.