The Buffalo Bills have a chance to do something this week that they haven't done yet this century.
No, not make the playoffs. Sweep the New England Patriots.
The Patriots (6-1) travel to face the Bills (4-3) on Sunday at New Era Field four weeks after suffering their only loss of the season. Buffalo's 16-0 victory on Oct. 2 was also New England's first shutout loss at Gillette Stadium and their first scoreless home game since 1993.
"They should be very confident from the way they came in her and played us on the road," Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty said. "Now, going there, at home, it's not going to be any easier, and we lost last time."
New England has not lost both regular-season games against an AFC East opponent with Tom Brady at quarterback, a 15-year stretch that ranks as the longest since the AFL/NFL merger in 1970. During that span, the Patriots have lost the first game against a division opponent six times. They won each rematch by an average of 28 points.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick, however, doesn't believe the historical data will help his team when they face the Bills.
"It really doesn't matter what happened last week, last month, last year," Belichick said. "What matters is what happens this week and that's what we can control. We can't control anything that's happened in the past, so we're going to try and focus on what we can do this week and prepare as well as we can to perform as well we can."
"We also got beat 45-3 by them in the same season," Ryan recalled this week.
The Patriots are better prepared for this rematch, if only because they have Brady this time. Third-stringer Jacoby Brissett started the first game against the Bills, with Brady serving the final game of his Deflategate suspension.
With Brady back under center, the Patriots have averaged 31.7 points and won three in a row. Brady has completed 75 percent of his passes for 1,004 yards with eight touchdowns and no interceptions.
"I don't know if I've ever seen him better," Ryan said.
Ryan admitted that the Bills were fortunate to play the Patriots during Brady's suspension.
"It was a great time to play them," Ryan said. "You know, I'll admit it. It was probably an easier game to play them without (Brady)."
That was the second in a four-game winning streak for the Bills, their first since 2008, which ended last week with a 28-25 loss in Miami.
After giving up 256 rushing yards to the Dolphins, the Bills are eager to get Pro Bowl defensive tackle Marcell Dareus back. Dareus was suspended for the first four games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, and has missed the last three with a hamstring injury.
"I'm playing Sunday, man. I can't wait," Dareus said. "I'm ready to enjoy myself. Just happy to be out there with the guys. Running around, feeling good. We're ready to go pull it off, man. We're going to make it happen."
The Patriots rank sixth in the NFL in rushing at 122.7 yards per game. Since Brady's return, the Patriots have become more pass-oriented but have still averaged 105.6 rushing yards in those victories.
The Bills' rushing attack, which led the NFL and is now ranked second (153.3 yards per game), could be without top tailback LeSean McCoy this week. McCoy pulled a hamstring during practice last week and aggravated the injury during the game against the Dolphins.
"We know we have to be more efficient in the running game," Ryan said. "Especially with some of the injuries that we've had outside. You know, if we can't run the ball, we're going to be in trouble."
The Patriots added depth at linebacker this week by acquiring Kyle Van Noy in a trade with the Detroit Lions. Van Noy started the first seven games for the Lions.