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Week 1: Bills vs. Patriots
at
Sunday, Sept. 8th
1:00pm ET
The Bills couldn't ask for a tougher opening day matchup than the dreaded New England Patriots. The good news is that Bill Belichick doesn't know what to prepare for as the Bills have been completely overhauled with a new coach, new coordinators, a new offense, a new defense, and a new QB. Despite all that a victory will be very tough to come by thanks to Tom Brady going against a very weak secondary.

FACTS AND FIGURES

Matchup: Buffalo (0-0) vs. New England (0-0)
Place: Ralph Wilson Stadium
TV/Radio: Network: CBS; DirecTV: 704; Sirius: 132
Announcers: Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf
Spread: Patriots by 9½
Series: Patriots lead 63-41-1 (Bills 0-1 in playoffs)
Streak: Patriots Won 3
Last Meeting: Patriots 37-31 in New England (2012)
Patriots Offense (2012): Rush (7th); Pass (4th); overall (1st)
Patriots Defense (2012): Rush (9th); Pass (29th); overall (25th)
Bills Offense (2012): Rush (6th); Pass (25th); overall (19th)
Bills Defense (2012): Rush (31st); Pass (10th); overall (22nd)


INJURY UPDATE

The Bills will be without Stephon Gilmore who is sidelined for at least the first month of the season with a broken wrist. Doug Legursky has a knee injury suffered in the preseason finale and is sidelined a while. Dustin Hopkins suffered a groin injury in practice this week and will also be sidelined this week. Jairus Byrd is also likely sidelined with plantar fasciitis. Erik Pears and Alex Carrington missed a day in practice with sore ankles but are fine for the game. EJ Manuel will start after being sidelined two weeks with minor knee injury.

The Patriots are expected to be without Rob Gronkowski who is way ahead of schedule in his return from offseason forearm surgery but likely won't make it back on the field for week one. He also has back problems and did not play in any preseason games but is back practicing. WR Danny Amendola has missed some practice time with a groin injury this week.

Check out our Bills Daily Injury Page throughout the week for the latest updates on the injured players.

KEY MATCHUPS

RB C.J. Spiller vs. LB Jerod Mayo:
Spiller is the focal point of the Bills offense while Mayo is a tackling machine for the Patriots.

WR Stevie Johnson vs. CB Aquib Talib:
Johnson needs to put his money where his mouth is. He said nobody can cover him and the Patriots will take it personally. Talib will probably follow him wherever he goes on the field.

DE Mario Williams vs. Nate Solder:
Williams will likely lineup all over the field this year. He will play with his hand on the ground sometimes and standing up at linebacker on other plays. Either way Solder is a solid tackle who will watch him anytime he's on the blindside.

LB Kiko Alonso vs. RB Stevan Ridley:
Alonso will be watched closely by fans as the rookie is being counted on to be the center of the defense. Ridley had a very good second season and has helped balance out the offense for New England.

KEYS TO THE GAME

1. Pressure Brady: The one way to get Tom Brady off his game is to rattle him with constant, unrelenting pressure. They can't let him get comfortable or else he will pick apart the Bills very weak secondary.
2. Run The Ball: They need to take the pressure off of EJ Manuel by putting the ball in the hands of CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson early and often.
3. Win Turnover Battle: This is an obvious key but more important than ever this week. If they turn the ball over they won't win, plain and simple.

BILLS DAILY PREDICTION

The Bills are just snake bit when they play the Patriots. While the offense has had success in the past against them, the defense has struggled. Both of those trends will likely continue in the opener. The Bills should be able to put up points but the Patriots should have receivers running wide open in the Bills secondary. A shootout against New England is never good and should lead to another in a long line of losses to the Patriots:
Patriots 42, Bills 27

Season Prediction Record: (0-0)
Season Record Against The Spread: (0-0)

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