Setting the scene: Patriots take on Bills in season opener
|09.08.13 at 10:12 am ET|
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid-60s are expected for the 1 p.m. ET kickoff between the Patriots and Bills here at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Western New York. It’s expected to be a breezy but mild afternoon, with wind out of the northeast at 11 MPH.
There is a 20 percent chance of rain in the forecast as the Patriots open the season in Buffalo for the first time since 2003, the infamous “Lawyer Milloy” game that ended in a 31-0 Bills rout. As was the case in 2003, when New England gained revenge with a 31-0 win in Foxboro, the Patriots will open and close the season against the Bills, playing the Bills in a Dec. 29 game at Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots have won nine straight season openers, the fourth-longest such streak in NFL history. Only the Lions (10, 1930-39), Dolphins (11, 1992-2002) and Cowboys (17, 1965-81) have longer runs. Since taking over as starting quarterback in the third game of 2001, Tom Brady is 10-1 in season openers, with the loss in 2003 his only blemish.
This is the ninth time in team history the Patriots are opening the season against the Bills and the first time since the memorable 25-24 win on Monday Night Football at Gillette Stadium in the 2009 season opener.
The Patriots are 4-4 all-time in season openers against Buffalo and lead the Bills in the all-time series 64-41-1.
The Patriots announced six of their seven inactives on Saturday when they ruled out Rob Gronkowski (forearm/back), Aaron Dobson (hamstring), Brandon Bolden (knee), Nate Ebner (ankle), Duron Harmon (hamstring) and Will Svitek (knee).
As for the Bills, they have ruled out CB Stephon Gilmore (wrist), K Dustin Hopkins (right groin) and C Doug Legursky (knee).