Tom Brady is so looking forward to his annual trip to Buffalo the Patriots quarterback posted a video on social media playfully announcing his impending arrival.
"Another great win, 5-2. Got to get to 6-2,'' he said, walking alongside teammate Lawrence Guy following a 38-31 victory at Chicago last weekend. And when Guy chimed in by saying, "6-2 on the way,'' Brady responded with a wide-eyed: "Woo! Bills Mafia, here we come.''
Bills fans, who refer to themselves as the "Mafia,'' naturally took Brady's remarks as a taunt in advance of Buffalo (2-5) hosting New England on Monday night.
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The more upset fans are, the better, Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes said.
"I think it's perfect,'' Hughes said. "I think that's great to get our fans riled up, because we're going to need all that anger, all that hostility."
The young, patchwork and offensively challenged Bills could use whatever edge they can get for various reasons.
They're already on their third starting quarterback, with Derek Anderson filling in for injured rookie Josh Allen; have scored just 81 points; and have lost by 22 or more three times, including a 37-5 meltdown at Indianapolis last weekend.
Then there's the prospect of facing Brady, who at 41, has every good reason to be upbeat given his career-long string of dominance over New England's AFC East rival.
With a 28-3 record against Buffalo, Brady holds the NFL mark for most wins by a quarterback against one opponent. His 466 yards passing in a 40-32 win at Buffalo in 2015 are the most against the Bills. He threw five touchdown passes _ four to Randy Moss alone _ in having a hand in Buffalo's most lopsided home loss, a 56-10 Patriots win in 2007.
And Brady also contributed to the Patriots racking up 580 yards offense _ the most allowed by Buffalo at home _ in a 52-28 win in 2012.
The past means nothing to the Patriots, who are 31-5 against Buffalo since 2000, when Bill Belichick took over as coach.
"It's always tough in Buffalo,'' Belichick said, discounting the fact the Patriots have won six straight at Orchard Park, New York, by a combined margin of 230-144.
The Patriots enters the game on a roll, having scored 38 or more points in winning four straight.
Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams took no exception to Brady's remarks.
"Why wouldn't the man be confident, right? I think that comes with good players,'' Williams said, referring to Brady's 201-57 career record. "Good players are confident. Great players are even more confident. That's no shock.''
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The Bills are 2-10 in their past 12 Monday night games, and have lost six straight since a 23-18 win at Miami in 1999. Buffalo hasn't hosted a Monday night game since Phil Dawson hit a decisive 56-yard field goal with 1:39 remaining in a 29-27 loss to Cleveland on Nov. 17, 2008.
Buffalo is 0-13 in games played on either Sunday or Monday nights since a 2000 season-opening 16-13 win against Tennessee. Adding in Thursday and Saturday night games, Buffalo is a combined 3-18 since 2001.
Bills coach Sean McDermott shrugged when informed the Patriots opened as 11-point favorites.
"Is that new?'' he said, before noting how the Patriots won the AFC championship last season and extended their NFL record by winning their ninth consecutive division title.
"Until you beat them, then they're going to be favored. That's how it works,'' McDermott said.
MICHEL ON THE MEND
The Patriots will likely be without rookie running back Sony Michel, who hurt his left knee injury against Chicago.
Michel missed New England's first two practices this week, and leads the team with 422 yards rushing and four TDs. His absence would leave the Patriots with James White and Kenjon Barner as the only healthy running backs on the roster.
Brady has no trouble getting up for Monday. His 48 career touchdown passes on Monday night are the fourth most in history behind Dan Marino (74), Brett Favre (69) and Drew Brees (50).
Brady also enters the matchup with Buffalo on the cusp of becoming the NFL's all-time leader in touchdown passes, counting playoffs. Peyton Manning tops the list with 579, Brady is second with 575.
RETIRING NO. 34
The Bills will honor Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas by retiring his No. 34 during halftime. He joins quarterback Jim Kelly and defensive end Bruce Smith as the only Bills player to earn the honor.
Thomas hopes his presence and Brady's comments regarding Bills fans might spur Buffalo.
"The fans will be riled up now because of what Tom Brady said,'' he said.
No matter the outcome, Thomas added: "It'll be a special night. It absolutely means more than anything I could ever imagine right now at this point in my life.''