The New England Patriots were expected to continue their dominance in the AFC East but they have company atop the division as the season approaches the quarter pole. The Patriots have stomped their first three opponents as they prepare for Sunday's visit to the surprising Buffalo Bills, who are tied atop the division following their first 3-0 start since the 2011 season.
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The rivalry between the two teams has been in name only in this century -- three-time NFL Most Valuable Player Tom Brady is a staggering 30-3 versus the Bills in his career but is eager to play in Buffalo for reasons beyond his personal success. "I love playing up there," Brady said. "It's one of the great environments in NFL football. It's an old stadium, but they get incredible support. ... It's going to be a hell of a game." The Bills haven't played exactly a murderer's row of competition, beating both New York teams on the road before outlasting Cincinnati in their home opener last week. "The Patriots are very well-coached and they got a guy over there that plays quarterback quite well, you know No. 12," second-year QB Josh Allen said. "(Maybe) the greatest quarterback of all time. We understand it's a tall task but at the same time we're going to try and stick to what we do."
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Patriots -7. O/U: 42.5
ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (3-0): Offense has never been an issue with Brady at the controls, but New England has been sensational on the other side of the ball, having yet to allow an offensive touchdown. "It'll be a challenging week ahead," Buffalo offensive coordinator Brian Daboll said. "It's kind of unprecedented, what they're doing on defense right now." In the first game since the ill-fated Antonio Brown experiment, Brady overcame another sub-par performance from the ground game by throwing for 306 yards and two touchdowns in last week's 30-14 win over the Jets. The Patriots limited New York to six first downs and 105 yards of total offense, with the Jets' defense scored the two TDs.
ABOUT THE BILLS (3-0): Allen, the No. 7 overall pick out of Wyoming in the 2018 NFL Draft, has thrown for only three touchdowns versus three interceptions, but he rallied Buffalo from a 16-point deficit in the season opener versus the Jets before guiding the winning 73-yard touchdown drive last week. Wideout John Brown already has 18 receptions and provides a big-play threat while rookie Devin Singletary practiced on a limited basis Thursday and could rejoin ageless Frank Gore in the backfield after sitting out last week due to a hamstring injury. The Bills have been fairly stout on defense in their own right, ranking fifth in yards allowed (299.7) and yielding 15.7 points per game.
1. New England is the only team in the Super Bowl era to not allow a rushing or passing touchdown in its first three games.
2. Gore needs 88 yards Sunday to become the fourth player in league history to rush for 15,000.
3. Patriots WR Julian Edelman (chest) had seven catches for 62 yards and a TD last week but has been limited in practice.
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Key Players to Watch
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- FootQues Sun | questionable
Jefferson is bothered by a foot injury, leaving his status for Sunday's clash with the Raiders unclear.
- ToeProb Sun | probable
Moss sat out the last game with a toe injury, but it is likely that he will suit up against the Raiders on Sunday.
- ConcussionProb Sun | probable
Knox missed the last game with a concussion and is going through the league's protocol. It is likely that he will be cleared in time for Sunday's matchup versus the Raiders.
- Lower BodyQues Sun | questionable
Addison exited the last game with a lower-body injury, and it is unclear if he will play against the Raiders on Sunday.
- CalfQues Sun | questionable
Brown was forced from the previous game with a calf injury, and his availability for Sunday's contest against the Raiders is in question.
- ShoulderQues Sun | questionable
Dawkins was lifted from the last game with a shoulder injury, and it is unknown if he will line up against the Raiders on Sunday.
- AnkleQues Sun | questionable
Hyde departed the last game due to an ankle injury, and it is uncertain if he will face the Raiders on Sunday.
- HipProb Sun | probable
Beasley is dealing with injuries to his hip and thumb, but it is expected that he will partake in Sunday's battle with the Rams.
New England Patriots
- PersonalQues Sun | questionable
White has missed the last two games as he was away from the team due to a death in the family. It is unknown if he will return to the fold against the Chiefs on Sunday.
- AnkleOut indefinitely | I-R
Uche has been ticketed for the injured reserve list with an ankle injury, and it is uncertain when the team will activate him.
- NeckQues Sun | questionable
Keene has been held out of the past three games due to a neck injury, and it is unclear if he will make his season debut Sunday versus the Chiefs.
- FingerQues Sun | questionable
Harris has been activated from the injured reserve list after recovering from surgery on his pinky finger. It has yet to be established if he will face the Chiefs on Sunday.
- KneeProb Sun | probable
Edelman is expected to suit up against the Chiefs on Sunday despite a knee injury.
- QuadricepQues Sun | questionable
Michel is managing a quad injury, and it is unclear if he will line up against the Chiefs on Sunday.
- ThumbOut indefinitely | I-R
Andrews has been entered on the injured reserve list while he is mend from surgery to repair a broken thumb on his right hand. There is no timetable for recovery.
- CalfQues Sun | questionable
Wynn has a calf injury, and it has yet to be established if he will be on the field for Sunday's battle with the Raiders.