NFL week 14 preview: Brady out to extend record in Bucs blockbuster
Bill Belichick masterminded a Week 13 win over the Buffalo Bills; now, it is Tom Brady's turn.
There is a new leader in the AFC after the New England Patriots' remarkable victory over the Buffalo Bills on Monday, stretching their winning streak to seven games.
But after battling the elements as well as the Bills in Buffalo, Bill Belichick's Pats have a bye in Week 14.
That allows others the opportunity to recover ground – including the Bills, who face New England great Tom Brady on Sunday. It is not a meeting they have enjoyed previously, as Stats Perform explores.
Buffalo Bills (7-5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-3)
Just like Belichick, Brady has enjoyed taking on the Bills – and he had plenty of opportunities to do so with the Pats in the AFC East.
Brady is 32-3 against Buffalo in his 35 career starts, with no starting quarterback in NFL history recording more wins against a single team. His .914 winning percentage in these games represents the highest by a starting QB against one team (minimum 20 starts).
Aged 44, Brady remains one of the best passers around, with a league-leading 74 TD passes over the past two seasons.
Bills QB Josh Allen is joint-third on that list (63 TDs), and Buffalo need his offense to fire, making the most of the platform afforded to him by the defense. After the 14-10 loss to the Pats, the Bills became the first team this season to lose two games in which they allowed 14 points or fewer (also 9-6 at Jacksonville).
Las Vegas Raiders (6-6) @ Kansas City Chiefs (8-4)
The Chiefs are one of three 8-4 AFC teams close behind the 9-4 Pats and will back themselves to tie that record in a matchup they have dominated.
Since 2013, when Andy Reid was appointed head coach, the Chiefs are 14-3 against the Raiders, with only New England against the New York Jets (16 wins) and the Seattle Seahawks against the San Francisco 49ers (15) beating a divisional opponent on more occasions in that span.
This is a time of year in which Patrick Mahomes tends to excel, now on a record run of 19 consecutive regular season wins in QB starts in November or later, but Kansas City's turnaround on defense has been key to their recent improvement.
The Chiefs head into this game having become the first team in NFL history to have a five-game streak allowing 25 or more points and a five-game streak allowing fewer than 20 points in the same season, with the latter sequence ongoing.
Baltimore Ravens (8-4) @ Cleveland Browns (6-6)
Another 8-4 AFC rival, along with the Tennessee Titans, the Ravens again face the Browns in the tightly contested AFC North.
Cleveland's previous game – before their Week 13 bye – was in Baltimore, making them the first team since 1991 to play the same team in back-to-back regular season games, although the Browns beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 17 last year before beating them again the following week in the playoffs.
The Ravens won 16-10 in Week 12 as Browns QB Baker Mayfield completed just 48.6 per cent of his passes, meaning he now has a 2-6 career record when completing no more than half of his pass attempts.
Lamar Jackson was far from convincing in that game, tossing four interceptions, but he had his sixth career game with at least 250 passing yards and 50 rushing yards against the Steelers last week – five of those coming in 2021. The Pittsburgh game was his second loss from those six.
The Washington Football Team believe again after four straight wins to move into a playoff place at 6-6, aiming to become only the third team to start 2-6 and make the postseason. One of the previous two examples was Washington last year, who won both games against the Dallas Cowboys, teeing up a potential three-game winning streak against this week's opponents – just their third ever.
Aaron Rodgers has claimed he "owns" the Chicago Bears, and the numbers show exactly what the Green Bay Packers QB means. He is 21-5 in the regular season and 1-0 in the postseason against the Bears, who will fear this week's matchup.
The Cincinnati Bengals have painful memories of playing the 49ers, having lost 12 of 16 games against San Francisco, including two Super Bowls. Joe Burrow will hope to get back on track in the latest meeting, however, having led the league with 14 picks to this point. Boomer Esiason, with 22 in 1990, was the only previous Bengals QB to lead the league outright in interceptions.