New England Patriots (0-0) at Buffalo Bills (0-0)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, N.Y. - TV: CBS
*TV announcers: Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf, Tracy Wolfson
*Keys to the game: Tom Brady has feasted on the Bills' secondary in his career. He's 20-2 with 51 touchdowns and 17 interceptions against Buffalo. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has more spread formations without tight ends Aaron Hernandez (released) and Rob Gronkowski (back surgery) on the field, but Brady's receivers are mostly fresh faces. New England lost 82 percent of its receiving production from 2012. Given the youth on the outside, a conservative, run-heavy game plan wouldn't be a surprise. Steven Ridley and Brandon Bolden combined for 243 rushing yards last season at Buffalo. But slowing the pace isn't the Patriot way. They averaged 74 plays per game in 2012, inviting the opponent to match points without mistakes. The strategy puts Bills rookie quarterback EJ Manuel in the crosshairs. Manuel is mobile, but is also coming off August knee surgery and coach Doug Marrone prefers handoffs to C.J. Spiller, who averaged 6.0 yards per carry last season, and Fred Jackson. Manuel completed 78.8 percent of his passes in the preseason operating a mostly horizontal passing offense. If the Bills can effectively set the table with Spiller and Jackson, there will be chances to hit wide receiver Stevie Johnson downfield.
*Matchup to watch - Patriots RB Stevan Ridley vs. Bills MLB Kiko Alonso: Drafted as a downhill run-stuffer in the second round to improve the Bills' 31st-ranked run defense, Alonso could solidify the front seven. Patriots coach Bill Belichick took notice, saying this week Alonso "gives them speed and athleticism and some power."
*Player spotlight - Patriots WR Danny Amendola: Replacing Wes Welker is a tall task. Amendola has a comparable skill set and is the veteran face in a fleet of inexperience. He'll get chances to make plays and become Brady's new security blanket if he can shake a history of injuries.
*Fast facts: The Patriots have won 18 of the past 19 games, and 23 of 25, in the series. ... New England was plus-25 in turnover margin last season; Buffalo was minus-13. ... The Patriots have won 11 straight games in the AFC East.
WHO WILL WIN AND WHY
The constant in the Patriots' domination of Buffalo over the past 11 seasons -- Tom Brady and takeaways -- carry New England to another AFC East victory.
*Our pick: Patriots 34-18