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Who owns the Bills: The Patriots, of course

October 10, 2014

Even though the Pegulas just bought the Buffalo Bills, everyone knows who really owns them: The New England Patriots.

New England has won 20 of the past 21 matchups, and when it journeys to Buffalo on Sunday, it will face a festive atmosphere. Buffalo folk have been busy celebrating the $1.4 billion sale of the NFL franchise to Terry and Kim Pegula, who also own the NHL’s Sabres. The Pegulas are keeping the team in the area.

“It would be big for them being their first game as new owners, but it would be better for us,” Bills running back Fred Jackson said. “If we don’t handle business, we’ll all feel rather sour.”

Buffalo is off to a better-than-expected start, and riding momentum following a come-from-behind 17-14 win at Detroit.

There are questions about whether New England’s decade-plus run of divisional dominance is showing signs of decay. The Patriots were blown out 41-14 at Kansas City two weeks ago before rebounding with a 43-17 win over Cincinnati. Which are the real Patriots?

“We’re really past that now,” coach Bill Belichick said. “I don’t think that has anything to do with this week.”

What the Dallas Cowboys have done, to win four successive games, especially with a banged-up defense minus any star players, has been impressive. Beating the defending Super Bowl champs in Seattle would be stupendous — and stamp Dallas as a surprise title contender.

The Cowboys have defied expectations thanks to the running of DeMarco Murray, just the third running back in league history — and first since OJ Simpson in 1975 — to start the season with five straight 100-yard games.

A sixth against the Seahawks’ stingy and physical defense that leads the NFL in stopping the run would be another huge achievement.

Seattle is coming off a short week following a 27-17 win on Monday night in Washington thanks to the wizardry of Russell Wilson. It’s now accepted that Wilson is going to pull off a trick or two, but his big night could have been part of a blowout win if not for Seattle’s penalty issues.

The New York Giants are at Philadelphia in the primetime matchup late Sunday.

After dropping their first two games, the Giants stopped being so generous turning over the ball, and began grasping the offense new coordinator Ben McAdoo brought from Green Bay. This is the first of six successive games against teams with winning records for New York.

This is also Eli Month: Giants quarterback Manning is 30-7 in October.

The Eagles have been dynamic on special teams, with four touchdowns, and also have three defensive touchdowns.

Elsewhere on Sunday, it’s Denver at the New York Jets, San Diego at Oakland, Green Bay at Miami, Carolina at Cincinnati, Baltimore at Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh at Cleveland, Washington at Arizona, Chicago at Atlanta, Detroit at Minnesota, and Jacksonville at Tennessee.

On Monday, San Francisco is at St. Louis.

The action began on Thursday with Indianapolis taking sole possession of first place in the AFC South by beating Houston 33-28. The Colts won their fourth straight by building a 24-0 lead and holding on.

Colts passer Andrew Luck threw for 370 yards and three touchdowns, with TY Hilton making nine receptions for 223 yards with one touchdown. That was enough to beat Houston, even though defensive end JJ Watt scored his third touchdown of the season, returning a fumble 45 yards.

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