The New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills will meet for a second time this season on Monday night: the Patriots will try to get revenge for an early-November loss in Buffalo that saw the team fumble a potential win away on its final drive. Of course, eight weeks is a long time in the NFL, which means that the two AFC East rivals do no longer look quite the same as they did during the Bills’ 24-21 win.
Let’s therefore take a look back and see how the two clubs compare to their Week 8 versions.
The following 45 players from the teams’ last meeting on on November 1 are still on New England’s active roster:
C David Andrews, TE Devin Asiasi, P Jake Bailey, LB Ja’Whaun Bentley, CB Justin Bethel, LB Tashawn Bower, S Terrence Brooks, DT Adam Butler, CB Myles Bryant, CB Damiere Byrd, LB Shilique Calhoun, LS Joe Cardona, DT Byron Cowart, OT Korey Cunningham, S Cody Davis, S Kyle Dugger, C James Ferentz, K Nick Folk, DT Lawrence Guy, RB Damien Harris, WR N’Keal Harry, QB Brian Hoyer, CB J.C. Jackson, LB Anfernee Jennings, FB Jakob Johnson, CB Jonathan Jones, TE Dalton Keene, G Shaq Mason, WR Jakobi Meyers, S Devin McCourty, CB Jason McCourty, QB Cam Newton, OT Michael Onwenu, WR Gunner Olszewski, S Adrian Phillips, LB John Simon, WR Matthew Slater, QB Jarrett Stidham, RB J.J. Taylor, G Joe Thuney, LB Josh Uche, RB James White, CB Joejuan Williams, LB Chase Winovich, DE Deatrich Wise Jr.
Meanwhile, the following 10 players are no longer on the Patriots’ active roster:
RB Rex Burkhead, DT Carl Davis, G Hjalte Froholdt, CB Stephon Gilmore, TE Ryan Izzo, LB Cassh Maluia, LB Derek Rivers, DT Nick Thurman, OT Isaiah Wynn, WR Isaiah Zuber
Offense: Patriots starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn was sent to injured reserve because of a knee ailment suffered later in November; he will be replaced by either Justin Herron or Jermaine Eluemunor — two players who were on IR when New England played Buffalo the first time. Elsewhere, the young guard at the skill positions returns with N’Keal Harry, Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene all expected to play prominent roles after being game-day inactives in Week 8. Sony Michel is also back, meanwhile, while Rex Burkhead will miss the remainder of the season after tearing his ACL.
Defense: The biggest roster change since Week 8 is Stephon Gilmore being placed on injured reserve after partially tearing his quad muscle last week. However, Gilmore was not on the field against his former team in early November following a knee injury suffered in practice. The biggest actual change, therefore, is probably the return of safety Kyle Dugger: he was inactive for the game in Buffalo but should play a big role as a de facto starter in New England’s secondary.
Special teams: While the majority of New England’s special teams operation remains intact, the team did see a change at the returner positions. Gunner Olszewski is now only focusing on punts, while Donte Moncrief took over the kickoff role. The change has worked out well for the Patriots so far.
Coaching staff: The Patriots’ coaching staff did see one change since the last time the team went up against Buffalo: quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch left for the University of Arizona, with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels taking over his duties for the rest of the 2020 season.
The following 49 players from the teams’ last meeting on on November 1 are still on Buffalo’s active roster:
DE Mario Addison, QB Josh Allen, QB Matt Barkley, K Tyler Bass, OT Ryan Bates, WR Cole Beasley, G Ike Boettger, P Corey Bojorquez, DT Vernon Butler, OT Dion Dawkins, WR Gabriel Davis, WR Stefon Diggs, LB Tremaine Edmunds, DE A.J. Epenesa, G Jon Feliciano, LS Riley Ferguson, QB Jake Fromm, FB Reggie Gilliam, DE Jerry Hughes, S Micah Hyde, DT Quinton Jefferson, DE Darryl Johnson, S Jaquan Johnson, CB Taron Johnson, RB Taiwan Jones, LB A.J. Klein, TE Tyler Kroft, WR Isaiah McKenzie, S Dean Marlowe, LB Tyler Matakevich, LB Matt Milano, C Mitch Morse, RB Zack Moss, DE Trent Murphy, S Siran Neal, CB Josh Norman, OT Ty Nsekhe, DT Ed Oliver, DT Harrison Phillips, S Jordan Poyer, WR Andre Roberts, RB Devin Singletary, LB Andre Smith, TE Lee Smith, CB Levi Wallace, CB Tre’Davious White, OT Daryl Williams, G Brian Winters, DT Justin Zimmer
Meanwhile, the following six players are no longer on the Bills’ active roster:
WR John Brown, DT Brandin Bryant, OT Cody Ford, CB Dane Jackson, S Josh Thomas, RB T.J. Yeldon
Offense: While a large portion of Buffalo’s offensive roster is still intact, there were a few changes nevertheless. The starting offensive line, for example, is expected to look a bit different this week with Ike Boettger and Jon Feliciano manning the two guard spots that were previously held by Feliciano and Brian Winters. The Bills are also expected to be without wide receiver John Brown, who remains on injured reserve; he had one 21-yard catch in Week 8. The Bills also will have starting tight end Dawson Knox back after he missed the last game versus New England on the Coronavirus reserve list.
Defense: The two biggest changes on Buffalo’s defense both impact the team’s secondary. Safety Micah Hyde, who missed Week 8 because of a concussion, will be back — so will Josh Norman, who was out due to a hamstring issue in early November. While it remains to be seen how big Norman’s role will be, Hyde is projected to serve as a starter in the defensive backfield yet again.
Special teams: The three specialists are still around, as is marvelous return man Andre Roberts and most of the coverage and return teams. There were no substantial changes for the Bills in the kicking game over the last two months.
Coaching staff: The Bills have not seen any changes to their coaching staff so far this season.