Patriots head into Week 4 undefeated, only have one more game without Brady
FOXBOROUGH - Heading into Week 4 of the season, the New England Patriots are easily dominating the AFC East. They're also undefeated as they prepare for another divisional match-up against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
Most of all, Sunday will be the last time for the foreseeable the team will have to take the field without Tom Brady.
However, in typical Patriots fashion, the team deflected questions about Brady's return, affirming they weren't thinking any further ahead than Sunday afternoon.
"I mean, we got a game before that, so when he comes back we’ll obviously be happy but we got a job ahead of us with the Buffalo Bills," said wide receiver Julian Edelman after practice on Friday.
Head Coach Bill Belichick shared even less sentiment over the suspension ending, saying there's no point in dwelling over things that are in the past.
"We’re just trying to get ready and compete against Buffalo," he said during Friday morning's press conference. "That’s our challenge this week. The rest of it…it’s in the books. It is what it is."
The Buffalo Bills picked up their first win of the season last week, handling defeating the Arizona Cardinals -- who the Patriots beat during the season opener.
Perhaps no player knows the Bills better than wide receiver Chris Hogan, who started his career in Buffalo and spent the last four years there.
"I mean, they’re physical guys," he said. "They’ve got a good front, secondary’s good. They’ve got a lot of talented guys out there, you know, a lot of speed out there too, so that’s what I expect."
The Patriots have had nearly ten days to prepare for Sunday, after playing the Thursday night game during Week 3. Hogan said the team took advantage of the break.
"I think it was good," he added. "Got some guys a little time to rest, you know, a lot of time to focus. I think this team, we have prepared really well this week."
Cornerback Malcolm Butler said now it's important for the team to keep going on the track they've been on so far this season.
"Great to start 3-0, you know, you want to start fast, try to get on top of the division, build momentum, get better each and every game," he said.
A key player to watch as the Patriots attempt to do that is running back LeGarrette Blount, who was named AFC Offense Player of the Month earlier this week. He currently leads the NFL in rushing with 298 yards. The last two games, he's also rushed for over 100 yards, and will likely be a favorite target in the game plan against a strong Bills defense.
But one major detail remains uncertain about the Patriots offense: the quarterback.
While Jimmy Garoppolo (right shoulder) and Jacoby Brissett (right thumb) are still recovering from injuries, both participated in practice all week and were listed as "questionable" for Sunday's game.
One of them will start, but the team is remaining tight-lipped about which one it will be.
"I’d like to see us win," Belichick said. "That’s what I’d like to see."
Meanwhile, Brady's four-game suspension for his involvement in the "Deflategate" scandal officially ends Monday.
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