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Buffalo Bills News - December 27, 2003

Marker Saying goodbye to an old friend [9:02 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'So now it's time to unfasten our seat belts. Thanks for the ride, Van. It was fantastic.'

Marker Patriots pull a reverse [5:20 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '“It’s the opposite ends,” he said. “God knows what they’re mindset is right now. Early in the year they probably said, ‘We can’t wait to play these guys again.’ Now, it’s probably like, ‘Man, (who cares?)’ But you have to finish the year out. I hate looking back and regretting.”'

Marker Bills Q&A: Takeo Spikes [5:19 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '“It was nothing personal. I want to win. Everybody does. Some people may need extra motivation, but I’m going to talk to everybody whether he likes it or not."'

Marker Bills Scouting Report [5:18 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Patriots are 16-2 in games when Antowain Smith rushes for a TD.'

Marker Is it the Bills’ “run for the bus” game? [5:17 AM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'New England has won eight of nine games decided by eight or fewer points this season. By contrast, Buffalo is 1-4 in such games, those four defeats coming by a total of 11 points, effectively extracting them from the playoff race.'

Marker Marching Patriots looking for pay back after Week 1 butt-kicking [5:16 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: '"If you'd have only seen one game this season and then (were) talking about the last week of the season one team playing for home-field advantage and the other out of the playoffs, you would have thought the opposite," Bills quarterback Drew Bledsoe said. "It's been surreal."'

Marker Van-demonium ends [5:15 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: '"I've had a love affair with the Buffalo Bills and it's not going to stop," said Miller, who will be in the booth at Foxboro when the Bills meet New England. "It's been a great run."'

Marker Unfinished business [5:14 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'But the Bills pose a serious threat to New England's 11-game winning streak for no other reason than they are professionals. And they have pride. And that's something worth playing for.'

Marker Patriots are one of a kind [5:13 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'What a team. They win by fewer than 10 points per game. The quarterback throws safe passes that are practically handoffs. The receivers are always in the right places. There are almost no dumb penalties. The defense confuses opponents with multiple looks and different faces in different places. And the field goal kicker never, ever, misses an important kick.'

Marker End around [5:12 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'The Patriots have that 11-game winning streak. St. Louis holds the second longest streak -- seven straight. Denver has won four in a row and Green Bay has run off three consecutive victories. Nobody else in the league is on more than a two-game winning streak.'

Marker Brady hopes to win bragging rights [5:11 AM]
Boston Herald reports: '``I remember sitting at 2-2 thinking we need to get to the bye week at 5-4,'' Brady said. ``That was a long time ago and a lot of hits ago, too. We really have done some good things and we have put ourselves in a good position. It doesn't do any good if we lose this week, which is the reason why there has to be attention to detail.'''

Marker Safety squeeze [5:10 AM]
Boston Herald reports: '``He does a great job with the things you have to do as a pro to prepare to play on Sunday,'' Williams said. ``Those are things that coaches can only do so much with, but the other players get a chance to see through example how the top players in the league go about preparing. He's been very, very valuable in that area.'''

Marker Bledsoe thrown for a loss [5:09 AM]
Boston Herald reports: '``Basically,'' Bledsoe said of today's homecoming, ``I grew up there. I (went to New England) as a 21-year-old kid, and when I left I was 29 and had three kids. It's still a place that holds a special place in my heart and the hearts of our family. It is special to go back there. Now,'' he added, ``we have to go back there and win.'''

Marker It'll be a real grind [5:08 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'The pick: Patriots by 32.'

Marker Law may be one to bank on [5:07 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'Yes, Law is now in the fattest years of the seven-year, $49-million contract he signed before the 1999 season. If he doesn't rework his contract -- and he's been adamant that he won't -- he'll count more than $22 million against the salary cap the next two years. The fact is, his cap number in 2004 is $9,457,365, just $650,000 higher than it is this season. Given the way he's played this season, a $650K bump is certainly within reason.'

Marker Key to Pats' success: Forget past, live for the moment [5:06 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'The Patriots were able to do the same thing in 2001 when they were just trying to survive each week. They kept their heads down and worked every week until they looked up to find themselves the last ones standing.'

Marker Lining up some optimism [5:05 AM]
Metro West Daily News reports: 'Remember the 2002 season when they used their "Dollar" package successfully against the Bills? That was when New England had its defensive front seven standing upright near the offensive line, forcing Bills blockers to identify who was rushing and who was dropping back. It made for a long day for Bledsoe and that page in the playbook might be dusted off and put into action today.'

Marker Patriots - 4 downs [5:04 AM]
Metro West Daily News reports: 'New England has nine interceptions in the last three games, and 27 overall. Bledsoe has 11 INTs, and the Bills as a whole have turned the ball over 30 times this season. Opportunities should present themselves today.'

Marker Bills Might End Up Paying The Balance [5:03 AM]
Hartford Courant reports: 'Belichick is making it sound as if his team's first goal today is to avoid another humiliation.'

Marker Bills (6-9) Vs. Patriots (13-2) [5:02 AM]
Hartford Courant reports: 'Led by LB Takeo Spikes, DE Aaron Schobel (11.5 sacks) and an excellent pair of CBs in Nate Clements and Antoine Winfield, the Bills rank second in the NFL in total defense, seventh against the run and third against the pass. But they haven't forced many turnovers (they have only 10 interceptions, the Patriots 27), and because of their turnover-prone offense, are tied with the Giants for the next-to-worst takeaway/giveaway ratio (minus 13).'

Marker Teams a study in contrasts [5:01 AM]
Springfield Republican reports: '"Every year you start out the year wanting to make the playoffs," Williams said. "That was our focus this year, too, but we weren't that good to get there. We are what we are right now. Record-wise, we earned (6-9)."'

Marker It’s an unexpected ending [5:00 AM]
Woonsocket Call reports: 'It’s unlikely the Bills will repeat their performance from the first game.'

Marker No place like home [4:59 AM]
Woonsocket Call reports: 'Motivation won’t be a problem for Bill Belichick’s Patriots. They’ve openly denied it, but getting home-field advantage would be the perfect Christmas gift. They’ve won all seven of their games at The Blade entering this weekend and have been dominant in the process. During a five-game stretch at home, they did not allow a touchdown in 19 consecutive quarters. Other teams have been tough to beat at home, but none of them have been as impenetrable as the Patriots.'

Marker No one’s been sacked more than Bledsoe [4:58 AM]
Woonsocket Call reports: 'Chew on these numbers: The Patriots are tied for second in the league with 37.0 sacks. Bledsoe has been sacked 46 times -- the most by any quarterback in the NFL. This could get ugly.'

Marker Today, Patriots look to end regular season with a bang [4:57 AM]
Attleboro Sun Chronicle reports: '``We thought they were a very good football team when we played them and even after we played them,'' Bills' coach Gregg Williams said last week. ``I watched them grow throughout the course of the year. Those guys have played well, they are playing very confidently. They do a very good job defensively on taking the ball away and setting their offense up. Their offense protects the ball. They do a good job of protecting the football and taking the high-percentage play.'''

Marker Pats have risen, Bills flop [4:56 AM]
ESPN reports: 'The Patriots have been low-key this week regarding the first game against Buffalo. The players won't say it publicly, but they can't wait for an opportunity to pay back those Bills. Mostly, it's because head coach Bill Belichick has been using that loss all season long as an example of the Patriots' supposed vulnerability.'

Marker Bills OG Brown excused from season finale [4:55 AM]
AP reports: 'Brown has three years left on a seven-year, $32 million contract, and is due to count $4 million against the salary cap next season whether or not he's on the roster.'

Marker Brown Excused From Game, Not In NE [4:54 AM]
WGR-AM reports: 'Brown did not practice with the team all week and did not make the trip with the team to Boston on Friday. Bills Head Coach Gregg Williams is quoted as saying that Brown is, "not playing for personal reasons." Williams was quick to point out that Brown was not suspended.'

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December 26, 2003

Marker Living on the Edge [6:14 PM]
Lawrence Eagle Tribune reports: 'New England's defense, in addition to racking up a whopping 37 takeaways, is holding opponents to just 90.1 yards rushing and just 15.9 points a game. The number that leaps off the page is 37 -- as in 37 sacks.'

Marker Return trip [4:06 PM]
Quincy Patriot Ledger reports: 'The Bills' bookend visit to Foxboro for the season finale will be the sad final chapter in a season that began on center stage, but is ending in irrelevancy.'

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09/11 @ Baltimore Ravens 1:00 pm
09/15 New York Jets 8:25 pm
09/25 Arizona Cardinals 1:00 pm
10/02 @ New England Patriots 1:00 pm
10/09 @ Los Angeles Rams 4:25 pm
10/16 San Francisco 49ers 1:00 pm
10/23 @ Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
10/30 New England Patriots 1:00 pm
11/07 @ Seattle Seahawks 8:30 pm
11/20 @ Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 pm
11/27 Jacksonville Jaguars 1:00 pm
12/4 @ Oakland Raiders 4:05 pm
12/11 Pittsburgh Steelers 1:00 pm
12/18 Cleveland Browns 1:00 pm
12/24 Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
01/01 @ New York Jets 1:00 pm

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