Patriots: Are the Bills contenders?

Are the Bills for real? We’ll find out.

Once upon a time, the Patriots and Bills had a relatively even rivalry.

Before New England started its streak of 15 straight wins over Buffalo, the Pats held a slim 46-40-1 margin in the all-time series between the two.

And before New England ripped off six straight wins in upstate New York, they were just 16-15 all-time at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Close. But not anymore.

As even a cursory glance at the ledger reveals, the Pats have simply dominated the Bills in recent years. They’re now 61-40-1 in 102 total matchups, and 22-15 at Buffalo’s home field, which will play host to Sunday’s contest.

Bill Belichick is 10-1 up north, and he’s 20-2 overall against the Bills at the Pats helm.

If ever there was a year when those trends would be tested, though, it’s 2011.

Somehow, Buffalo is actually looking like … a contender. Ryan Fitzpatrick is rolling through defenses rather than textbooks, and  there’s actually optimism in the land of lost Super Bowls.

Are the Bills for real? There’s no better test than the Pats, so we’ll find out Sunday. 


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