The Buffalo Bills (6-5) snapped their three-game losing skid with a 16-10 road win over the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium, a place that can be as raucous as any stadium in the National Football League for opposing teams.
Next up for the Bills, who kept their playoff hopes alive with the win? A date with the team, the quarterback, and the head coach that have given previous Bills’ coaches fits during the 17-year playoff drought: the reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots (9-2).
With Tom Brady starting at quarterback, the Patriots have gone 26-3 under head coach Bill Belichick against the Bills. Brady is tied with Brett Favre for the most wins against one team (26) in the history of the league.
This is a new Bills regime, with a first-year general manager (Brandon Beane), a first-year head coach (Sean McDermott), and first-year offensive and defensive coordinators (Rick Dennison and Leslie Frazier, respectively). What have the Bills been saying about the Patriots as the team prepares for Sunday’s 1 p.m. clash at New Era Field?
For starters, McDermott is well aware of the Patriots recent success against the Bills, and knows his team is in for a test when New England comes to Orchard Park.
“(The Patriots) are the defending world champions and until someone beats them and becomes world champion, then they are the defending world champions the way I see it. That’s from a respect place. They do things the right way,” McDermott said during Monday’s media session. “Look, where I come from, you honor that in terms of the respect that you give to that quality of opponent and what they’ve been able to do and sustain that success. We have our work cut out for us this week.”
McDermott has some familiarity coaching against the “Hoodie” and the Patriots, facing New England three times as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Eagles and once with the Carolina Panthers when Carolina handed the Patriots a 24-20 loss on Monday Night Football with McDermott serving as defensive coordinator.
“It’s a headache,” McDermott said of game-planning for the Patriots. “A lot of long hours, a lot of communication between coaches and coaches and players and players to players and so they challenge you from a preparation standpoint. They challenge you off the field [and] they challenge you on the field so they’re a good football team.”
Frazier has the unenviable task of trying to slow down Brady and the Patriots offense, which leads the league in total yards of offense per game (411.2) and is third in scoring (29.5 points per game). The Bills must revert to their early-season form, when Buffalo held teams to a league-best 13.5 points per game while racing out to a 3-1 start.
“Oh boy. Well, a lot of people have tried to do that over the course of his career and not many people have been very successful,” Frazier said Monday of what it will take to slow down Brady. “It’s a collective effort. We’ve got to defend their entire offense. He does a great job of spreading the ball around [and] utilizing the run game. It’s defending the entire offense. It’s more than just him, although he is the guy that’s orchestrating it all.”