Middle of the road [5:35 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'The defensive keys to winning, according to Johnson: Stop the Bills on third down and stop their running game on every down.'
An AFC trend has reduced the risks of passing game [5:34 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'The top 17 quarterbacks in the AFC have combined to throw 5,728 passes. Of those, 3,619 were completed -- 63 percent. Of the 2,109 that weren't caught, only 163 fell in the arms of the opposition.'
Belichick: All things considered, Simms should be Hall of Famer [5:33 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'The first time the Patriots faced the Bills this season and won, 38-7, they exploited backup corner Chris Watson. He was playing in place of starter Antoine Winfield . Now Winfield's back and he's covered everyone from Wayne Chrebet to Santana Moss to Tony Gonzalez. He's better than Watson. He and fellow corner Nate Clements are a pretty good pair.'
Bills benefit if Bruschi's out [5:32 AM]
Springfield Union News reports: 'Bruschi's injury is considered significant because Bledsoe has completed 75 passes to his primary backs, Travis Henry and Larry Centers.'
Patriots’ no-name offense just works [5:31 AM]
Woonsocket Call reports: 'As game day approaches, the Buffalo Bills are facing the unenviable task of trying to figure out what kind of offense the Patriots run. Good luck. The Patriots don’t even know themselves.'
Vrabel and Bruschi molded to fit [5:30 AM]
Woonsocket Call reports: '"You’re not trying to transform a guy that you know that this just isn’t what he is," Belichick said. "Mike is not really a defensive end in this league so he needs to be a linebacker.I mean, Pittsburgh saw the same thing, and that is all he can be."'
NFL: Officials erred on Bills' TD call [8:32 PM]
Miami Herald reports: 'During a game, the back judge, who stands behind the secondary, is in charge of calling the delay of game penalty. The back judge looks at the clock and then looks to see if the ball has been snapped.'
Short passing game still key [8:31 PM]
Patriots.com reports: 'In the first game in early November a combination of good execution by the Patriots and poor tackling by the Bills allowed New England to rack up over 186 yards of offense after the catch. Tom Brady and company transformed what has been referred to as a "dink and dunk" offense into big plays and touchdowns.'
Bill Belichick Press Conf. Transcript - 12/06/2002 [8:30 PM]
Patriots.com reports: 'Q: What do you think Buffalo did well in the first game that they might want to go back to and do this game? BB: Well, let's just say what they think they did well. They said that they thought they moved the ball well, they just didn't score in the red zone. They said that they thought that they played pretty good defense, they made good on the screen passes. So there are two things right there that I'm sure they feel like they were close on a couple of kickoff returns. Those are some things right there that they said that they thought went pretty well, I guess a couple of things that didn't go well, they overrode them. Move the ball into the redzone, then you are not effective on offense.'
Bledsoe in big game on and off field [8:29 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: '“I know that I still have a lot of fans out there and a lot of people appreciate what I did while I was there so it will probably be a mixed reaction (during the game). There will probably be some people that cheer for me. (But) during the course of the game I would expect the New England fans to do what they did the whole time I was there... which was to support their team.”'
Under Phillips, Falcons defense is for real [7:44 PM]
ESPN reports: In his first year with Atlanta, former Bills HC & DC Wade Phillips has the Falcons ranked in the league's top 10 in several defensive categories: Sacks (2nd), Interceptions (4th), Giveaway/Takeaway (6th), Forced fumbles (T8th)
2002 WNY H.S. Football All-Academic Team [3:28 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: For the 16th consecutive year the top high school football student-athletes in Western New York are being honored by the Buffalo Bills for their participation on the football field and in the classroom. All of the 41 scholar-athletes are seniors who played varsity football and have maintained an academic average of a 90 or above in their studies. The 2002 "All Academic Team" is co-sponsored by the WNY High School Sports newspaper.
Bills To Honor Three H.S. Football Teams Plus "Coach Of The Year" Prior To Dec. 15 Game [3:28 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: The Bills will honor three high school football championship teams from the region during pregame ceremonies prior to the Bills-San Diego Chargers game at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday, December 15. This is the eighth straight year that the Bills have honored the Harvard Cup championship team and any teams from the region that play in the NY State Championship games played in Syracuse.
Bills To Honor 11 WNY H.S. "Coach of the Week" Winners & Present the "Coach of th [3:27 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: ORCHARD PARK - The Buffalo Bills will honor the top 11 high school football coaches in Western New York on Sunday, December 15 when the coveted "Coach of the Year" award is presented during ceremonies at the Bills-San Diego game at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Patriots to work magic? [1:18 PM]
Quincy Patriot Ledger reports: 'The Pats were so dominant in the first meeting - a 38-7 victory in Orchard Park, N.Y., in November - that they are faced with an interesting quandary. Do they stick with what worked so well back then? Or do they try something new, figuring that the Bills won't get fooled twice by the same game plan? Or maybe the Bills will be expecting them to change, so the Pats could really trick them and do just what they did the last time.'
Hayes still trying to catch on with Patriots [1:17 PM]
Quincy Patriot Ledger reports: 'Hayes' struggles this season have been well documented. Signed away from Carolina in the offseason, he was supposed to use his 6-foot-4 frame to provide Brady with a big target. Instead, he couldn't dislodge David Patten from the starting lineup and couldn't prevent rookie Deion Branch from assuming the No. 3 position.'
Bledsoe gets to see yard he helped build [10:32 AM]
Nashua Telegraph reports: '“We were a hot topic early and then we went on a little three-game slide that put us behind the eight ball,” Bledsoe said. “The bottom line is, we’ve just got to play better. Even in this last game (38-21 over Miami), we were fortunate to come away with a win. We still made too many mistakes, and made the kind of mistakes that will really hurt us against a team like the Patriots.”'
Wind can play tricks at Gillette Stadium [9:12 AM]
Springfield Union News reports: 'In old Foxboro Stadium, the wind ran up or down the field most of the time. It was either in a player's face or at his back. "In this (Gillette) stadium, it looks like as the wind increases it has a little bit of a swirling effect," New England coach Bill Belichick said. "It runs part of the way down the field at the open end, at the lighthouse end, but then it seems to quarter more toward from the home bench to the visiting bench.'
Brown is the man for Pats [9:11 AM]
Springfield Union News reports: 'Seattle ranks dead last in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game and rushing yards per attempt, but Buffalo is not too much better than the Seahawks in either category. The Bills rank 31st overall in rushing yards per game and but 27th in yards per attempt. They cannot be feeling all that confident after Miami's Ricky Williams ran for 228 yards last Sunday in Buffalo. The Dolphins lost 38-21 despite the fact that Williams had touchdown runs of 45 and 55 yards.'
With Winfield back, Pats can't cut corners [9:10 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"Having Antoine out there gives you a lot of flexibility," said Bills defensive coordinator Jerry Gray. "He can play inside or outside. He is excellent in pass coverage and run support. Anytime you have a guy who can play more than one position in this league it's a big plus for a defensive coordinator."'
The stiff-arm makes NFL comeback [9:09 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"It's a real dangerous move to have in your repertoire because when you have a tackler coming onto you the only way you can avoid him getting to your body is by using that," said Bills free safety Pierson Prioleau. "Otherwise he's going to be able to get into your body."'
Price making quite a case for Pro Bowl [9:08 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Price is seventh in the AFC in receptions (72), fifth in yards (1,020) and second in receiving touchdowns (nine). His average of 14.2 yards per catch is second only to teammate Eric Moulds' 14.3 among the top 10 receivers in the conference.'
No fondness for forgettable Foxboro [5:42 AM]
D and C reports: 'In 1998 the Bills lost to Drew Bledsoe and the Patriots 25-21 in what will undoubtedly live as one of the most bitter and bizarre defeats in team history.'
Pleasant a Patriots presence [5:41 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'Pleasant is an appropriate last name for the Patriots' 6-foot-5-inch, 280-pound defensive end. But when describing him, other words come to mind, including respect, passion, conviction, and wisdom.'
Pioli's latest move pleases Epstein [5:40 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'Tedy Bruschi, listed as doubtful on the injury report, didn't practice.'
Faulk has Midas touch [5:39 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'Running back Kevin Faulk made the Pats' first big play of the game (a 19-yard reception on third-and-10) and another one that put it out of reach in the third quarter (a 45-yard swing pass for a touchdown that was ultimately ruled a run). In all, he was a key part of the Pats' short passing attack that completely befuddled the Bills.'
Brady plays under gun [5:38 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'In 2001, the Pats were 5-2 when Brady passed for less than 200 yards, again including the Super Bowl. In 2002, they're 0-3.'
Face it, Jones may be right man for job [5:38 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'Many of the Pats know that the key to stopping Drew Bledsoe on Sunday will be getting to running back Travis Henry first.'
Voices for the ages [5:37 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'This is Miller's 36th season calling Bills' fortunes, Santos' 26th with the Pats...'.
Smith knows going 'home' is not easy [5:36 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'Besides, Smith knows if he is running the ball well, it means the offensive line is controlling the line of scimmage, which means the Patriots offense will be able to keep the ball out of the hands of Bledsoe and the Bills' explosive offense. Getting the ball to Smith is likely to be a big part of New England's game plan, as it was in Buffalo, when he carried a season-high 29 times.'
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