Are you ready for some prime time Buffalo Bills football?
The Bills (2-5) make their triumphant return to Monday Night Football as the home team for the first time in nearly a decade, when the Bills welcome AFC East foe the New England Patriots (5-2) to New Era Field. Kickoff is set for 8:15 p.m. Eastern, and the eyes of the football world will be on Orchard Park, with ESPN televising the game.
This is Buffalo’s first home appearance on Monday Night Football since the 2008 season, when Buffalo fell to the Cleveland Browns 29-27 on Nov. 17. This is Buffalo’s first Monday Night Football game since a 31-25 road loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 7, 2016. The Bills last faced the Patriots on a Monday night during the 2015 season, suffering a 20-13 loss on Nov. 23, 2015.
These two teams are heading in opposite directions, with the Bills struggling to score points (ranked last in the league in scoring offense, 11.6 points per game), while the Patriots are averaging 39.3 points per game during a four-game winning streak and find themselves in a familiar place: alone in first place in the AFC East.
During his NFL career, QB Tom Brady has terrorized the Bills, and brings a 28-3 record against Buffalo into the MNF game. Brady is once again playing at an MVP level for the Patriots. The key to a Bills upset is to get pressure on Brady, and for Bills fans, hopefully the defense will return to its Week 6 form (sacking Deshaun Watson seven times) compared to Week 7, when it recorded zero sacks and allowed Andrew Luck to toss four touchdown passes.
This will be the 117th meeting all-time between former American Football League rivals. New England owns a 72-43-1 record all-time, including a 26-8 win as the Boston Patriots during the 1963 AFL playoffs, the only postseason meeting between these two teams.
Last year, the Bills fell to the Patriots 23-3 at New Era Field, and lost a 37-16 decision to the Patriots in Foxboro.
The game has been sold out for months. As if Bills fans needed any additional incentive to get pumped up for the Monday night appearance, Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas will have his No. 34 retired at halftime.
Here’s how to watch the Bills return to Monday Night Football from home:
Date: Monday, October 29, 2018
Time: 8:15 p.m. Eastern
Channel: The game will be carried nationally on ESPN. In Buffalo, WKBW (Ch. 7) is also carrying the game.
Announcers: Joe Tessitore (play by play), Jason Witten and Booger McFarland (analysts), and Lisa Salters (sideline reporter).
Location: New Era Field | Orchard Park, New York
Radio: WGR 550AM (Buffalo), WCMF 96.5 FM and WROC 950 AM (Rochester), Fan 590 AM (Toronto), WTKW 99.5 FM and WKTV 105.5 FM (Syracuse), and the rest of the Buffalo Bills Radio Network.
Radio Play-by-Play: John Murphy and Mark Kelso in the booth with sideline reporter Sal Capaccio.
Online: NFL Game Pass, NFL.com Game Center
Saturday Injury Report: Buffalo Bills: Full participant: QB Derek Anderson (back/calf), RB Chris Ivory (hamstring), T Jordan Mills (knee). Limited participant: WR Kelvin Benjamin (rest day), RB LeSean McCoy (concussion). Did not practice: QB Josh Allen (right elbow), RB Taiwan Jones (neck), DE Trent Murphy (knee). Game day status: Allen, Jones, and Murphy are out. McCoy is questionable, although ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that McCoy is expected to play. New England Patriots: Limited participant: OL Trent Brown (ankle), OL Marcus Cannon (concussion), WR Josh Gordon (hamstring), DL Geneo Grissom (ankle), TE Rob Gronkowski (ankle/back), LB Dont’a Hightower (knee), TE Jacob Hollister (hamstring), RB Sony Michel (knee), DE John Simon (shoulder), DE Deatrich Wise Jr. (ankle/knee). Did not practice: DB Eric Rowe (groin), OL Brian Schwenke (foot). Game day status: Brown, Cannon, Gordon, Grissom, Gronkowski, Hightower, Hollister, Simon, and Wise Jr. are questionable. Michel is doubtful, while Rowe and Schwenke are out.