Editor's Note: Information in this article was provided by Patriots Media Relations.
The 2013 AFC East Champion New England Patriots will close out the 2013 regular season this afternoon at 4:25 p.m. against the same opponent they opened the season against when they host the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots opened the 2013 season with a 23-21, come-from-behind win at Buffalo on Sept. 8. It will mark the fifth time in team history that the Patriots will open and close the season against the same opponent and the first time it will occur since opening and closing the season against Buffalo in 2003. It has also happened in 1987 against Miami, 1981 against the Baltimore Colts and in 1974 against Miami.
The Patriots are 7-0 at home in 2013 and will attempt to finish a perfect 8-0 at Gillette Stadium for the sixth time in team history. New England has finished perfect at home in 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009 and 2010. The only other teams that are undefeated at home in 2013 are Cincinnati and New Orleans.
The Patriots have won their last 12 home games against Buffalo, including a perfect 11-0 record against the Bills at Gillette Stadium. Tom Brady is 21-2 all-time against Buffalo.
To help you get ready for today’s game, here is what you need to know:
Radio and TV Information
TELEVISION: This week’s game will be broadcast to a regional audience by CBS and can be seen in Boston on WBZ-TV Channel 4. Ian Eagle will handle play- by-play duties with Dan Fouts providing color. The game will be produced by Bob Mansbach and directed by Suzanne Smith.
RADIO: 98.5 FM, The Sports Hub, is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. Play-by-play broadcaster Bob Socci will call the action along with former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak, who will provide color analysis.
Parking Lot Information
The stadium lots will open at four hours before kickoff. Parking at Gillette Stadium is $40 for cars and motorcycles and $150 for busses, RVs, and limos.
In addition, the following vehicles will not be allowed in the lots:
Any vehicle towing a trailer (this includes fifth-wheel RV units).
Professional catering trucks and or services without prior written approval from Stadium Management.
Excessive tailgate setups that impede on customers parked around your vehicles, emergency access or deemed to be unsafe or inappropriate by Stadium Management.
Any type of swimming pool, portable pool, hot tubs, water filled pickup trucks, or the like.
Allow Plenty of Time for Traffic Around the Stadium
With a capacity crowd expected, drivers are advised to allow themselves plenty of time when traveling near the stadium on game day. Traffic restrictions will be in place on local roads before and after the game. Fans must use I-95, I-495 or Route 140 to access Gillette Stadium.
Those not going to the game should seek alternate routes to their destination.
The Playoff Picture
The Patriots can earn a first-round bye in the playoffs with a win today. A loss can send New England to as low as fourth place with Cincinnati and Indianapolis still in contention for a bye.
If the Patriots win and the Broncos lose, the Patriots would earn the top seed in the AFC. If both teams win, the Patriots will have the second seed and the Broncos will finish at the top of the AFC.
The Patriots and Bills will meet for the 108th time and for the second of two 2013 meetings. The Patriots opened the season with a 23-21 come-from-behind win at Buffalo on Sept. 8, 2013.
New England holds a 65-41-1 edge in the series following the 2013 season opening win and a series sweep last year with a 52-28 win at Buffalo on Sept. 30 and a 37-31 win at Gillette in the rematch on Nov. 11. It marked New England’s 22nd sweep in the annual series.
The Patriots are 34-19 all-time in home games against Buffalo, including 11-0 at Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots are 31-22-1 all-time in Buffalo, including 24-16 at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
The series between the AFC East rivals began in 1960. The Patriots’ 65 wins over the Bills are their highest victory total over any opponent, nine more than they own over the New York Jets (56). New England has won 24 of its last 27 games against Buffalo dating back to the 2000 season.
After seven straight series sweeps and 15 straight Patriots wins, Buffalo ended the streak with a 34-31 victory Ralph Wilson Stadium in the first meeting of the two teams in 2011 on Sept. 25. The 15-game win streak is the third longest winning streak over a single opponent in NFL history. The Patriots avenged that loss in the 2011 regular season finale on Jan. 1, 2012 by overcoming a 21-0 first quarter deficit and scoring 49 unanswered points en route to a 49-21 victory.
The teams have had many memorable matchups over the years, including a five-game span from 1999 to 2001 where four of the five contests were decided in overtime.
What to Look for Against the Bills
- Bill Belichick will be looking to earn a 12th win in a season for the 8th time as head coach of the Patriots.
- Belichick is 50-9 (.847) in December with New England, the best record in December among head coaches with one team in NFL history (min. 25 games). George Seifert is second (27-6, .818)
- Danny Amendola (624) needs one more 66 yards against Buffalo to set a new single season career high and surpass the 689 yards he had in 2010.
- Tom Brady (147) needs one more win to break a tie with Dan Marino (147) for fourth place and move into a tie with John Elway (148) for the third most wins by a starting quarterback, behind Brett Favre (196) and Peyton Manning (166).
- Brady will be looking for his 8th 12-win season, behind only Peyton Manning who his 10 12-win seasons.
- Brady (366) needs 34 completions in the final game to reach 400 completions for the season. Drew Brees (5), Brady (2), Manning (2) and (2) are the only players to have at least two seasons with 400 completions.
- Julian Edelman needs one more punt return for a touchdown to set the team mark with his fourth punt returned for a touchdown. He is tied with Irving Fryar and Troy Brown with three returns for a touchdown.
- Edelman has 96 receptions in 2013 and needs four more to join Wes Welker (2007-09, 11-12) and Troy Brown (2001) as the only Patriots players to reach 100 receptions in a season. Edelman is averaging 6.4 receptions per game in 2013.
- Edelman has 991 yards receiving in 2013 and needs nine yards to become the 10th Patriots player to register a 1,000-yard season.
- Stephen Gostkowski has scored in a team record 106 consecutive games and needs to score at least one point against Buffalo to extend that mark.
- Gostkowski (34) has his second season with 30 or more field goals and needs two field goals in the final game to match his franchise record of 36 field goals set in 2008.
- Gostkowski has made 23 straight fourth quarter field goals.
- Gostkowski is leading the NFL in scoring with 144 points and become just the fifth NFL player to lead the NFL in scoring at least three times.
- The Patriots can earn a first round by with a victory. They have earned seven byes since 2001, the most in the NFL. Chicago and Pittsburgh are second during that time with four byes.
- The Patriots can extend their NFL-best December record with a win vs. Buffalo. The Patriots are 48-7 in the month of December since the 2001 season. The next best team is Philadelphia with a 39-18 record.
- The Patriots are 7-0 at home in 2013 and will attempt to finish a perfect 8-0 at Gillette Stadium for the sixth time in team history. New England has finished perfect at home in 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009 and 2010. The only other teams that are undefeated at home in 2013 are Cincinnati and New Orleans.
- The Patriots will be looking to extend their streak to 15 straight home win against AFC East opponents. The last time the Patriots lost a home game against an AFC East opponent was on Nov. 13, 2008, when the New York Jets left Gillette Stadium with a 34-31 overtime win.