Game notes: Patriots vs. Bills

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Game notes: Patriots vs. Bills

A quick look at the information you need to know about tonight's Patriots-Bills game:

GAME TIME: 8:30 p.m. EST

TV NETWORK: ESPN

TV ANNOUNCERS: Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Lisa Salters

NATIONAL RADIO: Westwood One Sports

NATIONAL RADIO ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Harlan, Boomer Esiason and Steve Tasker

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

LOCAL RADIO ANNOUNCERS: Bob Socci and Scott Zolak

ALL-TIME SERIES BETWEEN THE TEAMS: Patriots lead, 68-42-1

LAST MEETING: Patriots 40, Bills 32 on Sept. 20, 2015 at Ralph Wilson Stadium

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-- The Patriots are an NFL-best 42-15 in the month of November since 2001 (.737 winning percentage).

-- The Patriots are 70-19 (.787) in the regular season against AFC East opponents since 2001, the best intra-division record of any team in the NFL over that time span.

-- The Patriots are 3-0 in the AFC East in 2015.

-- The Patriots are looking for their 24th season-series sweep against Buffalo.

-- Bill Belichick is 27-5 as a head coach against the Bills, including 27-4 with the Patriots. Rex Ryan is 4-10 as a head coach against the Patriots, including 0-1 with the Bills.

-- This will be the third Monday Night Football matchup between the Patriots and Bills, all of which have been played in Foxboro. The Pats won the previous two: 27-14 on Oct. 23, 1995, and 25-24 on Sept. 14, 2009.

-- The Patriots and Bills have played regular-season and playoff games at eight venues, and the Pats have a winning record against Buffalo at six of them. In games at Buffalo, they were 7-6-1 at War Memorial Stadium and are 26-16 at Rich Stadium/Ralph Wilson Stadium. In New England, they were 2-1 at Nickerson Field, 3-3 at Fenway Park, 1-0 at Alumni Stadium, 0-1 at Harvard Stadium and 17-14 at Schaefer/Sullivan/Foxboro Stadium, and are 12-1 at Gillette Stadium.

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WHAT TO LOOK FOR

-- The Patriots are looking to start a season 10-0 for the second time in franchise history. The other was in 2007.

-- Rob Gronkowski (62) needs seven touchdowns to move past Stanley Morgan (68) and become the all-time leader in touchdowns for the Patriots.

-- Gronkowski (61) needs seven receiving touchdowns to move past Stanley Morgan (67) and become the all-time leader in receiving touchdowns for the Patriots.

Belichick: Patriots have caught up after starting offseason 'five weeks behind'

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Belichick: Patriots have caught up after starting offseason 'five weeks behind'

FOXBORO -- After starting the offseason "five weeks behind," as Bill Belichick put it, the Patriots have caught up. 

"I think we’re probably caught up to where we are now," he said before Thursday's OTA practice at Gillette Stadium. "I think it’s being behind in draft, free agency and that type of thing.

"I think at this point, we’re ready for OTAs. We’ll be ready for training camp. I think that part of it we’ll be on schedule on. It’s the catching up on all the spring projects, draft and free agency. It’s the initial part of it."

Belichick made headlines on the morning after winning his fifth Lombardi Trophy with the Patriots when he said, "As of today, and as great as today feels and as great as today is, in all honesty we're five weeks behind in the 2017 season to most teams in the league. Fortunately we have a great personnel staff

"Look, in a couple weeks we're going to be looking at the combine, obviously the draft, all-star games have already occurred, and in a month we're into free agency, not to mention all the internal Patriots players (whose) contracts are up and we're going to have to work with in some form or fashion like every team in the league does."

Leaning on evaluations of players that began in the build-up to previous drafts, Belichick and his staff opted to trade away some of this year's draft capital for veterans like Brandin Cooks, Kony Ealy and Dwayne Allen. They also gave up their fifth-rounder to sign restricted free agent Mike Gillislee.

Before heading out to the team's third practice of the week -- the first week the Patriots were allowed to introduce helmets and run offense versus defense periods -- Belichick said that part of his focus will be spent on finding out how those players he picked up this offseason are progressing.

"Yeah, that’s definitely part of it," he said. "Seeing the new players, how they’re doing and also how they’re doing relevant to the rest of the other players that I’m a little more familiar with. Again, each year is a new year, so even though we’ve seen some of these guys multiple years, it’s still starting all over again, seeing where they are, how they’re progressing in their training and preparation for the season."