The list of things Tom Brady succeeds at is fairly extensive. There are his five Super Bowl rings, four Super Bowl MVPs and three regular-season MVPs to name a few.
Then there is Brady’s sparkling success against the Bills in the form of a 28-3 record in his 31 starts against them.
Brady looks to add to his success against his AFC East rivals on Monday night when the Patriots visit Buffalo.
Brady’s last loss to the Bills was a 17-9 home loss in Week 17 of 2014 when the Patriots had little to play for. He also lost in Week 3 of the 2011 season at Buffalo and in the 2003 season opener in Buffalo.
Other than those blemishes, Brady has produced some standout performances against the Bills. He has 12 games with at least three touchdowns against Buffalo and 10 300-yard games against the Bills.
The Patriots have scored at least 30 points in 17 of those games, including last season in a Week 16 win in New England when Brady threw a pair of touchdowns in a 37-16 win.
His 28 wins against the Bills are the most ever by a quarterback against a single team. Brady is 14-2 in games played in Buffalo.
Another achievement Brady can attain is climbing up the list for touchdowns on Monday Night Football. His 48 TD passes on Monday nights are the fourth-most in NFL history, behind Dan Marino (74), Brett Favre (69) and Drew Brees (50).
Still, despite Brady’s personal array of success against a Bills team that has made the playoffs once since 1999, nobody on the Patriots is focused on their success in the series.
“It’s always tough playing up there in Buffalo,” Patriots running back James White said. “I mean, those fans are going to be excited for a Monday Night Football game, and divisional games are always tough, no matter what those guys’ record is. They’re still a good football team. They’re going to play you tough for four quarters. I mean, going to be a good environment, got to be ready to go from the get-go.”
Speaking of tough, the Patriots are coming off a pair of tough wins in the last two weeks and enter on a four-game winning streak. After getting a 43-40 win at the buzzer over Kansas City in prime time in Week 6, the Patriots held on for a 38-31 win at Chicago last week.
Brady threw for three touchdowns and the Patriots survived when New England’s defense stopped Chicago wide receiver Kevin White at the 1-yard line on the final play.
“You hold your breath when I saw him jump up and catch it,” Brady said. “I didn’t have the angle on the goal line. He was getting close to the end zone. They were pushing and we were pushing. It was probably a half yard or a yard, pretty close. Good for us to hold them out.”
The Bills are coming off a 37-5 loss at Indianapolis last week when Derek Anderson started and finished 20 of 33 for 175 yards. It was the most passing yards in four weeks for the Bills. Anderson was playing because rookie Josh Allen injured his elbow.
Anderson will be playing as Allen is out again.
Since Brady took over for Drew Bledsoe in 2001, Buffalo has employed 17 different starting quarterbacks against the Patriots.
Still, despite those overwhelming factors in favor of the Patriots, there is some wariness in New England as the Bills did blow out the Minnesota Vikings earlier this season.
“It’s a division game,” Patriots head coach Bill Bellichick said. “It’s always tough with them up there. We know that. I mean, we know it’s going to be tough. We talked about it but talking about it is the easy part. It’ll be dealing with it Monday night that will be the hard part.”
For the Bills, getting much of anything done offensively has been the difficult part.
Buffalo’s 81 points are the fewest in the league heading into Week 8. It’s the third-lowest in team history and worst mark since Buffalo produced 75 points in the first seven games of the 1977 season.
Buffalo has yet to get at least 20 first downs in a game this year and its seven offensive touchdowns through this point is the worst since 2007.
More signs of Buffalo’s struggles include this dubious number: only eight of 22 drives have gotten past midfield in the last two games.
“We know we are not where we need to be,” said Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who was a New England assistant in two stints spanning 11 seasons. “I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum. You have to have a short-term memory. You have to look at the things you need to improve on, which for us, is a lot.”
Last week, the Bills lost Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy, who is in the league’s concussion protocol. McCoy hit his head on the turf and as of Thursday remains in the protocol, although he is practicing.
If McCoy sits out, the running game would feature a combination of Chris Ivory and Marcus Murphy. They combined to average 6.1 yards per carry last week, while McCoy has five straight games with at least 100 total yards from scrimmage against New England.
Buffalo will be playing its first Monday night game since 2008 when it took a 29-27 home loss to the Cleveland Browns. Trent Edwards was Buffalo’s quarterback for its last Monday night game and Marshawn Lynch was the top rusher.
The Bills also have not won a Monday night game since beating Miami in 1999 and have not been victorious in a Monday night home game since beating Denver in 1994.
“This’ll be a big week for us in terms of the energy around the city and creating an environment in our stadium where it’s hard to play,” Bills head coach Sean McDermott said.
Bills Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas will have his number retired at halftime.