FOXBORO -- The day before New England flies to Buffalo for its season opener happened to be the day after former receiver Wes Welker's first game with the Broncos.
Vince Wilfork was asked if he caught Welker's performance.
"I'm not worried about anybody but the Buffalo Bills and Patriots right now," he scoffed. "I'm so far from anyone else. I've got ready to go slow down C.J. Spiller, [Fred] Jackson, and this Buffalo team. I don't have any time to pay attention to anybody else and what they've got going on."
The Patriots haven't lost to Buffalo since September 25, 2011. They've beaten the Bills by a 19.3 point average in the three regular season games since.
But Wilfork has a point about Spiller.
The 26-year old running back accumulated 1,244 rushing yards, 43 passes, and eight touchdowns last season. In the last meeting between these two teams, a 37-31 win for New England last November, Spiller had 70 yards on nine carries for an average of almost eight yards per rush. He added 61 yards on four catches.
"You’re talking about a guy that touches the ball 80-percent of the time," Wilfork noted. "They’ve made it clear, that’s their guy; they’re going to try to get the ball to him in the run game and the pass game. And why wouldn’t they? He’s an explosive guy. He can hurt you anywhere on the field."
That Buffalo has a rookie at the helm might as well be inconsequential, the way Wilfork tells it. He looks at quarterback E.J. Manuel and sees mobility. That means options at every point of attack for the Bills and, in the eyes of one veteran defensive tackle, trouble for the Patriots.
"We’re going to have be on our ‘A’ game to slow this team down, especially with the backs they have, with Jackson and Spiller, and then with [receiver Stevie] Johnson outside, and then [tight end Scott] Chandler, and the offensive line. They play well together," Wilfork insisted.
"The biggest thing is, we're on the road against a division opponent and it happens to be the Buffalo Bills. Every time we play these guys it's something -- some new run or new wrinkle that they show us -- and they always give us a tough time. And we understand that. We understand how important it is for us to contain their go-to guys."