- Associated Press - Saturday, October 11, 2014

Even though the Pegulas just bought the Buffalo Bills, everyone in Western New York knows who really owns them: the 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. The folks up there have been busy celebrating the $1.4 billion sale of the 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 quite a start for the Bills to actually knock off the Patriots, perhaps the NFL’s biggest party poopers.

“I’m sure it’s going to be rowdy,” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady says. “The fans are going to be into it. It’s going to be a great atmosphere. If you love football, then one o’clock Sunday in Orchard Park is where you want to be.”

Brady says he is happy that the Bills will remain in Buffalo, and why not considering his mastery of them?

“Absolutely. It’s a great rivalry,” he says. “It’s a historic franchise. They’ve had so many great players. You see it in the Ring of Honor that they have.”

That Ring of Honor includes, of course, Ralph Wilson, the Bills’ only owner until he died in March. This will be the first matchup in which someone else owns the team.

Elsewhere Sunday, it’s Dallas at Seattle, the New York Giants at Philadelphia, 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 night, San Francisco is at St. Louis.

The weekend’s action began with Indianapolis taking sole possession of first place in the AFC South by beating Houston 33-28. The Colts (4-2) won their fourth straight with a third consecutive intradivision victory. They built a 24-0 lead and held on.

Andrew Luck threw for 370 yards and three touchdowns , with T.Y. Hilton making nine receptions for 223 yards with one TD. That was enough to beat Houston (3-3), even though defensive end J.J. Watt scored his third touchdown of the season, returning a fumble 45 yards.

Off this week are Kansas City (2-3) and New Orleans (2-3)

Dallas (4-1) at Seattle (3-1)

What the Cowboys have done, 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.

“They’re good as a test and we’re going to face them,” QB Tony Romo said. “It’ll be a great atmosphere and it’ll be great to get there and play against them.”

Brave words.

Dallas’ DeMarco Murray is the first running back to rush for at least 100 yards in each of the first five games of a season since O.J. Simpson in 1975. Getting there against the Seahawks’ stingy and physical defense that leads the NFL in stopping the run would be another huge achievement.

Seattle needs to clean up the flags: 13 penalties vs. Washington.

New York Giants (3-2) at Philadelphia (4-1)

After dropping their first two, 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 QB Manning is 30-7 in October.

Philly has been dynamic on special teams, with four TDs, and also has three defensive touchdowns. After having to rally to win their first three games, the Eagles have jumped in front the past two, which they split.

San Francisco (3-2) at St. Louis (1-3), Monday night

Injuries have sunk the Rams, whose four games were outside the league’s toughest division. Now they dive into the NFC West for four of their next five, including two with the Niners.

San Francisco has won six in a row on Monday nights, outscoring opponents 164-49. QB Colin Kaepernick is 3-0 on Monday nights with six TDs, no interceptions.

Although the Niners have, by far, the better Super Bowl history, St. Louis will be remembering its past in prime time: The Rams will don throwback uniforms worn by their 1999 Super Bowl championship team, the Greatest Show on Turf.

Denver (3-1) at New York Jets (1-4)

Denver does not have pleasant memories of MetLife Stadium. The Broncos played a certain game there last February and got pummeled by the Seahawks. A little thing called the Super Bowl.

Peyton Manning needs five TD passes to tie Brett Favre’s record of 508. Seeing how the Jets’ secondary has performed this season, he might get it Sunday - and still sit out the fourth quarter.

After WR Eric Decker left Denver for the Jets as a free agent, the Broncos signed Emmanuel Sanders. He has three consecutive games with 100 yards receiving, and could become the first Broncos player with four straight.

San Diego (4-1) at Oakland (0-4)

Oh, for the days when this rivalry had some juice.

While these Raiders resemble everything they’ve been since winning the AFC crown in 2002 - that is, all bad - the Chargers are a pleasant surprise power. San Diego has won four in a row and the only loss was by one point at Arizona. Philip Rivers has a passer rating of at least 120 in four straight games, tied with Kurt Warner and Johnny Unitas for the longest streak in NFL history.

Oakland puts together different kinds of strings, such as losing 10 in a row dating back to last season. That got Dennis Allen fired as coach during the bye week, and Tony Sparano takes over.

Green Bay (3-2) at Miami (2-2)

Green Bay has not had much success in South Florida, going 1-6. But the only victory came in 2006, Mike McCarthy’s first year as coach.

McCarthy goes against his former offensive coordinator, Joe Philbin.

Miami will need to take care of the ball; the Packers lead the league with a plus-6 turnover margin. The Dolphins’ defense leads the NFL with averages of 4.7 yards per play, 5.3 per pass and 9.9 per completion.

Carolina (3-2) at Cincinnati (3-1)

The Bengals came crashing back to Earth in Foxborough, so how they react to their first defeat will be of high interest. They’ve won their past seven regular-season home games by at least 14 points, but are bothered by some key injuries, including to wideout A.J. Green and LB Vontaze Burfict.

Carolina’s best player, linebacker Luke Kuechly, grew up in Cincinnati and played a high school game at Paul Brown Stadium in 2008.

“It was one of those things, any time you can come and play in your hometown, it’d be a neat experience,” Kuechly says. “You grow up watching the Bengals and everyone around Cincinnati loves the Bengals, it would’ve been cool (playing for them). My parents would have loved it too, because I’d be close to home.”

That’s where he’ll be on Sunday.

Baltimore (3-2) at Tampa Bay (1-4)

Ravens receiver Steve Smith, who has boosted the Ravens’ passing game and can be a playmaking machine, faces one of his favorite opponents. He had six TD receptions and seven 100-yard games against Tampa Bay while with Carolina.

The Bucs come off blowing a late 11-point lead at New Orleans and have committed 11 turnovers. Only Philly has more giveaways, but the Eagles are 4-1.

Pittsburgh (3-2) at Cleveland (2-2)

The Dawg Pound will be barking as loud as ever because there’s life in these Browns. They showed it with the greatest comeback by a road team in NFL history in their 29-28 victory at Tennessee. And now they face their most hated rival.

Also the rival that dominates them.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is 18-1 against the Browns; the Ohio native is 9-1 in Cleveland. Pittsburgh has swept the two-game season series 10 times since 2000 and won the 2014 season opener at home. The Steelers are 26-5 against the Browns since 1999.

Washington (1-4) at Arizona (3-1)

Washington has owned this series in recent years, with eight straight wins dating back to 2000. But the Redskins have lost 12 of their past 13 overall, and have looked sloppy through most of their five games in 2014. They do have the NFL’s sacks leader in Ryan Kerrigan.

Which quarterback he will be trying to sack is uncertain with starter Carson Palmer still battling shoulder woes, and replacement Drew Stanton is undergoing the league’s concussion protocol. Rookie Logan Thomas could wind up starting.

Chicago (2-3) at Atlanta (2-3)

Should be a fun one for Devin Hester, who set return records for the Bears through eight seasons before signing with Atlanta as a free agent. In Chicago, Hester tied Deion Sanders’ NFL record with 19 return touchdowns, and he broke that with a punt return TD against Tampa Bay in Week 3.

Atlanta is a totally different team at home, going 2-0, averaging 46.5 points and 528 yards. The Bears are a totally different team after halftime, being outscored 34-3 in their past two losses.

Detroit (3-2) at Minnesota (2-3)

Minnesota hopes first-rounder Teddy Bridgewater can get back in the lineup after missing last week with a sprained left ankle. He’d be facing the top-rated overall defense, but could be helped by a running game that hasn’t suffered all that much despite Adrian Peterson’s absence.

The Lions are worried about star receiver Calvin Johnson (right ankle), but they might have fixed their kicking game. Their previous kickers, rookie Nate Freese and then veteran Alex Henery, were awful. So Matt Prater, one of the league’s best while in Denver, was signed after he came off the substance abuse suspension list.

Jacksonville (0-5) at Tennessee (1-4)

For the few people actually watching this one, consider that Jacksonville has the worst-ranked defense and next-to-worst offense. The Jags are starting seven rookies, including QB Blake Bortles, in what is a complete rebuilding mode.

Tennessee blew a big lead to Cleveland last Sunday and has dropped four in a row. Starting quarterback Jake Locker probably won’t go with a damaged right thumb.

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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