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New England Patriots

Stadium: Gillette Stadium | Coach: Bill Belichick
Team RankingOverallRushingPassing
Offense10th105.6 (17th)257.5 (10th)
Defense12th129.6 (25th)210.9 (2nd)

Patriots report: Notes, quotes

The Sports Xchange
 
Strategy and personnel · Notes, quotes · Inside slant
 

--The Patriots have played an opponent with a top 10 scoring defense (fewest points allowed per game) nine times in 2010 and are 7-2 in those games.

The Patriots are averaging 29.6 points per game when playing a defense ranked among the top 10 stingiest in terms of allowing points. While the Patriots are averaging 29.6 points per game against those teams, the rest of the NFL is averaging only 16.7 points per game.

--The Patriots' dominance against Buffalo is most notable in December, where the Patriots are 7-2 overall at Buffalo and 8-1 at Buffalo when the temperature dips below 40 degrees.

Also, the Patriots have beaten Buffalo 19 times in the last 21 meetings between the two teams while head coach Bill Belichick is 9-1 against the Bills on the road.

--As a starter against the AFC East, Patriots QB Tom Brady is 42-11, which includes a 16-1 record against Buffalo, a 13-4 record against the Jets, an 11-6 record against Miami and a 2-0 record against Indianapolis when the Colts were still in the same division.

Overall, Brady has thrown 36 touchdown passes with only 12 interceptions against the Bills in 17 starts. Since 2006, he's thrown 19 touchdowns against Buffalo with only three interceptions -- a stretch that covers seven regular-season games.

--With the longest kickoff return by an offensive lineman in NFL history under his belt, Patriots OL Dan Connolly took home this week's AFC Special Teams Player of the Week award.

Connolly helped turn the tide Sunday with a 71-yard kickoff return right before the end of the first half, which helped the Patriots pull to within 17-14 at the break.

Connolly is the second offensive lineman in NFL history to win the award, joining Langston Walker of Oakland, who won it in 2004 for blocking a field goal.

--The numbers don't always reflect it on the stat sheet, but NT Vince Wilfork's value to the Patriots' defensive line cannot be understated. Even though the Patriots had trouble keeping Green Bay off the field Sunday, head coach Bill Belichick praised Wilfork for his effort.

"I thought Vince did a terrific job for us last night. He was out there for a lot of plays -- 74 plays or whatever it was -- I forget the exact number, but it was a lot," Belichick said. "I thought he played hard. He really had an outstanding game. They had a lot of attention directed at him, which is understandable, but he had a bunch of double teams and slides on the protection coming his way and those types of things. He really played hard, played well and did a lot of things to help us win.

"I thought he was outstanding -- probably one of the best games he's played. He's played a lot of good ones, but I'd say that's one of the best ones he's played around here."

--Brady threw his 30th touchdown pass of the season last weekend against Green Bay, making this the second time in his career he's thrown 30 or more touchdown passes in a season.

He is one of only 12 quarterbacks since the AFL/NFL merger in 1970 to have at least two 30-touchdown seasons. The only other Patriot who has had a 30-touchdown season was Babe Parilli with 31 in 1964.

--New England has now qualified for the playoffs 18 times in its 51-year history. The Patriots have earned 12 playoff berths in the 17 seasons since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994, a dramatic contrast to the six total playoff berths that the team earned in its first 34 years of existence.

New England has won 12 division titles and has qualified as a wild-card team on four occasions (1998, 1994, 1985 and 1976). The Patriots also qualified for the playoffs in 1982 as part of a 16-team tournament following the players' strike.

BY THE NUMBERS
181 -- The number of tackles by LB Jerod Mayo this season. He is on pace to finish the year with 207, which would be the highest total in team history since Steve Nelson had the same amount in 1984.

QUOTE TO NOTE
"I bet Chan is really worried about that." -- Patriots head coach Bill Belichick responding to Buffalo head coach Chan Gailey, who jokingly said he'll kick away from Dan Connolly this week following Connolly's unexpected 71-yard kickoff return last weekend.

Copyright (C) 2010 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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