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Prime opportunity Bills have chance to play spoiler under the lights Unbeaten New England brings its dominant act to Buffalo on Sunday night

The Buffalo Bills get the chance to spill ink on the New England Patriots' masterpiece season Sunday night.

They were talking more Wednesday about the great opportunity they have than their improbable chances of spoiling the Patriots' perfect record.

"It's prime time, everybody's watching, and if you can't get up for this type of game then you're in the wrong business," said Bills defensive end Chris Kelsay.

"It's a great opportunity all the way around, any way you want to look at it," said quarterback J.P. Losman. "Individually, teamwise, everyone has a lot to prove against this team."

The Patriots (9-0) are off to one of the greatest starts in NFL history. Consider:

*They can become just the 10th team since 1970 to start 10-0.

*They are averaging 39.4 points per game, a pace that would shatter the league's 57-year-old scoring record set by the Los Angeles Rams (38.8 ppg).

*They have outscored their opponents by 208 points, an average of 23.1 a game. That's the largest point differential through nine games in 45 years, since the '62 Green Bay Packers outscored their first nine foes by 231 points.

*Quarterback Tom Brady already has thrown 33 touchdown passes. The Bills have scored a mere 14 touchdowns all season. Brady is on pace to throw for 58 TDs, which would break Peyton Manning's season record of 49. Brady's passer rating of 131.8 would obliterate the NFL record of 121.1, also held by Manning.

The Bills never have played an opponent with a record of 9-0 or better in their 48-year history.

It's also safe to say the Bills (5-4) never have been a 15 1/2 -point underdog at home when they brought a winning record into the game.

"We expect to play well," said receiver Lee Evans. "We'll get a chance to see where we are offensively, how good we really are against a very good football team."

As if the odds were not stacked against the Bills already, their offense got bad news Wednesday.

Rookie running back Marshawn Lynch, the Bills' best offensive weapon, is likely to miss the game with a sprained ankle suffered in the win at Miami last Sunday.

Of course, the Bills have had so many injuries this season that they seemed to shrug off the prospect of playing without Lynch.

"If he's not there everyone else is going to have to pick up their load," Losman said. "Right now our offensive line is comfortable with whoever is in, and we need to keep it rolling."

If the Bills have one edge in the game, it's the fact they are playing at home.

The Ralph Wilson Stadium crowd was deafening six weeks ago when the Bills played a Monday night game against Dallas. So the Bills were happy to see the game against New England switched to an 8:15 p.m. start.

"I love playing under the lights," Kelsay said. "I like a later game. I don't like sitting around anxious all day waiting to play. But once we get out there, our fans are tremendous. They did a great job of supporting us, staying loud all game against Dallas, and I'm expecting the same thing this Sunday."

"Our fans are loud and they are good, but we've got to give them something to cheer about," said coach Dick Jauron. "On that night, we gave them a lot to cheer about. Did the performance enhance the crowd? Did the crowd enhance the performance? The whole thing went together. So we're hoping we can make enough plays to keep them in this game because our crowd will be behind us if we give them something to get behind. That will be the issue."

The Patriots, meanwhile, say they are not allowing anyone in their camp to talk of becoming the first team ever to go 16-0.

"No, because it's so ridiculous right now that it's not even talked about," linebacker Mike Vrabel told Buffalo media by phone Wednesday. "We understand the task at hand this week. We're into Buffalo, and it's going to be a tough game and they're going to be a better football team than we saw earlier in the year."

The Patriots defeated the Bills, 38-7, on Sept. 23. It was their eighth straight win and 13th win in the last 14 meetings with the Bills. New England also had an extra week to prepare for Sunday's game, coming off a bye.

However, Pats coach Bill Belichick is famous for building up the opposition, and he had nothing but high praise for the Bills on Wednesday.

"I'm glad we have the extra time; we'll need it," Belichick said. "This team is playing very well. They have their own style of play, but it's effective and it's winning a lot of games."

"They don't make many mistakes," Belichick said. "They make you beat them. They're outstanding in the kicking game. They're good on defense and they don't turn the ball over on offense. They do a pretty good job of running it and getting enough points to win. And that's what it's all about."

Said Brady: "Offensively, they're very explosive. Defensively, I remember watching that Dallas game and all those turnovers that [Tony Romo was throwing]. They can make a bunch of plays. . . . We've never been up there for a night game, but it looked like it was a raucous-type crowd. . . . I think they've always played us well, pretty tough."

Bills fans can only hope their team is as good Sunday as the Patriots make them out to be.


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