ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills are off to a dubious start. They're being talked about as possibly the NFL's worst team. Some pundits already have put them on the clock for the first draft choice of 2011.
The Bills are 0-2 and headed to a place they've never won to play one of the league's marquee franchises, the New England Patriots.
Bills cornerback Drayton Florence isn't quaking in his cleats, but he understands why nobody is giving his team a popsicle's chance in Hades to win Sunday.
"The way we've been playing, anytime we beat anybody it's going to be an upset," Florence told me in the Bills' locker room Friday. "You've just got to keep grinding. Nobody's giving us a chance, but who knows who's going to win the Super Bowl at the beginning of the year?
"You've got to have a sense of pride in your work. If you go out there with a chip on your shoulder and some pride, this thing should get turned around."
The idea of going on the road to defend Tom Brady, Randy Moss and Wes Welker can't be too appealing. But the Bills might actually match up well against the Patriots' offense. The Bills rated second in pass defense last year, you know.
In their last game, the Bills held Brady to 47.8 percent completions and a 59.1 passer rating. The Patriots won with a rushing attack led by Laurence Maroney (no longer on the team). Third-down back Kevin Faulk also is gone because of a knee injury.
Brady threw 11 passes Welker's way that frigid day, but they connected only four times. Moss caught five of his seven targets for 70 yards and a touchdown.
"They do a lot of things with Wes, getting him off the ball, putting him in motion so you can't really get a jam on him," Florence said, "but you've got to be physical with all those guys."
Florence said the key to victory will be generating a pass rush. Brady expressed glee this week when talking about old nemesis Aaron Schobel not being around anymore. Schobel sacked him 12 times for the Bills.
"I'm glad he retired," Brady said on a conference call with Bills reporters Wednesday. "Believe me. No one's happier than I am. He sacked me more than anyone in the league.
"He's a tough competitor, but the guys in his place, there's a good group of pass-rushers up there. Kyle Williams, I really like him. It's a big defensive front that can really push the pocket. So we've got to stand up to them."
"Any time you can disguise coverage and get pressure on the quarterback, no matter who you're playing, that's always a plus," Florence said. "Whenever the quarterback's got to move around in the pocket to make his reads and make his adjustments, especially a guy like Tom, if you show him what you're in, he's going to know where the mismatch is.
"Playing aggressive always is going to be a key."