Boston Red Sox

Game info: Patriots vs. Bills

840309.jpg

Game info: Patriots vs. Bills

GAME TIME: 1 p.m.

TV NETWORK: CBS

TV ANNOUNCERS: Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts

RADIO NETWORK: Anchored by WBZ-FM (98.5 The Sports Hub)

RADIO ANNOUNCERS: Gil Santos and Scott Zolak

ALL-TIME SERIES BETWEEN THE TEAMS: Patriots lead, 63-41-1

LAST MEETING: Patriots 52, Bills 28 on Sept. 30, 2012 at Rich Stadium

Former running back Kevin Faulk, who closed his 13-year career as one of the most productive Patriots players in the teams history, will be honored at halftime of the Buffalo game.

The Patriots are 27-7 (.794) in divisional games in November since 2002, the best winning percentage in the NFL. The Colts and Chargers are both 25-9 (.735), the Packers are 27-10 (.730) and the Steelers are 27-11 (.710).

Tom Brady has led the Patriots to 19 regular-season victories over the Bills, recording his highest regular-season victory total over any opponent. Additionally, Brady has thrown for more touchdowns (49) against Buffalo than any other opponent. Brady also has more 300-yard games (7) against Buffalo than any other NFL team.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

With one touchdown pass against the Bills, Tom Brady will extend his streak to 41 straight games with at least one touchdown pass and continue his third-longest streak all time, behind Drew Brees (51-current) and Johnny Unitas (47).

Brady has 50 career 300-yard games in the regular season and needs one more to tie Dan Fouts (51) for sixth place all time.

Brady has two rushing touchdowns in 2012 and needs one more to tie his single-season career high of three, set in 2011.

Stephen Gostkowski (7-of-10 from 50 or more yards) needs one more 50-yard field goal to tie Adam Vinatieri (8-of-17) for most 50-yard field goals in Patriots history. Gostkowski has two 50-yarders so far in 2012 and can become the first Patriots player with three 50-yard field goals in a single season.

Rob Ninkovich has a team-leading four forced fumbles. If he has one more forced fumble he will tie Mike Vrabel (five in 2007) for the most forced fumbles for a Patriots player within the last 20 years.

Wes Welker (16) needs one more 10-plus catch game to break a second place tie with Marvin Harrison (15) and tie Jerry Rice (17) for the most 10-catch games in NFL history.

Welker (8,155) needs 30 yards to move past Irving Fryar (8,184) for fourth place on the Patriots all-time all-purpose yards list, behind Kevin Faulk (12,349), Stanley Morgan (11,468) and Troy Brown (11,053).

Eduardo Rodriguez's delivery wasn't the same after knee injury, until recently

red_sox_eduardo_rodriguez_062216.jpg

Eduardo Rodriguez's delivery wasn't the same after knee injury, until recently

BALTIMORE — If you suspected Eduardo Rodriguez’s knee created a residual effect with his mechanics as he struggled in the second half, you were correct. 

It was here in Baltimore on June 1 that Eduardo Rodriguez hurt his right knee, suffering another subluxation, which he’s prone to. Once he came back — a month and a half later, after the All-Star Break — his performances didn’t match the competency he’d shown pre-injury.

Through the first nine starts back, Rodriguez had a 5.47 ERA. He appeared clearly outside of the playoff rotation picture.

The last three outings have left a different impression, and are a product of improved mechanics. The Red Sox feel Rodriguez is lifting  right leg, his lead leg, higher now.

“I think Eddy’s regained more confidence physically over his last three starts,” pitching coach Carl Willis said. “We’ve seen a better delivery. Really since he had come back the injury here, a little bit of abbreviated leg lift. He finally got a little more confidence in picking that knee up and getting a little more drive from his lower half. I think that’s made a huge difference. He’s using his changeup more which is also a huge difference, but I think that lower half has allowed him to do that.”

Rodriguez has a 2.55 September ERA. He has strikeout ability that could be appealing in a postseason setting, but he’s young and inexperienced compared to Rick Porcello and Doug Fister. The fact he’s had confidence issues with his delivery could factor into how the Sox decide their playoff rotation, but his upside and strikeout potential are undeniable.

Rodriguez had a knee subluxation in 2016 that affected his mechanics for a time as well.

Branch on reduced role vs. Saints: "Ask Bill"

patriots_alan_branch_112716.jpg

Branch on reduced role vs. Saints: "Ask Bill"

FOXBORO - If Alan Branch is worried about his spot with the Patriots, he isn’t acting that way. A notorious slow starter, Branch played just six snaps in Sunday’s win at New Orleans. And to hear him talk, it’s business as usual.

“It’s not like you can practice 3 technique on a store clerk,” said Branch late Wednesday afternoon. When informed that he probably could if he wanted, Branch smiled and noted “you’d probably get arrested for that.”

All kidding aside, it was stark to see Branch’s ample behind stapled to the bench. He earned a two-year contract this offseason, and his presence on the interior has been critical to the defense’s success. But after getting pushed around a bit too often in that opening night loss to the Chiefs, Branch spent a lot more time watching then playing. Did he know that he wasn’t a big part of the plan?

“That’s another question you gotta ask Bill, man” said Branch. “That’s not something I can talk about.”

Branch has - at times - come off as nonchalant about the game. Wins, losses, big plays, no plays, none of it seems to change his demeanor. Knowing that, I asked him if he was frustrated by his lack of playing time.

“I mean every player wants to be on the field so it is what it is,” he responded. 

Does he think that he’ll be more involved Sunday against the Texans?

“I don’t know what they plan to do with me,” he said. “i just need to go in there and keep my head to the grindstone and work.”

That may be Bill Belichick’s plan: sitting the player to motivate him. It would also seem to be potentially the last resort, and with someone who clearly marches to the beat of his own drum, it’s unclear how he’ll respond.