BOSTON (CBS) – The New England Patriots return to action this weekend following a much-needed mid-season break.

If history tells us anything, the post-bye week Patriots under Bill Belichick are a tough bunch to contend with.

Belichick is a master at making sure his team uses their time the best way possible. Whether that means rest, more film study, or on-field drills, (or all of the above) Belichick makes sure his squad uses every second to their advantage.

This season, the bye came at the best possible time for the Patriots. They started off the regular season with five of their first eight games on the road. That included a long trip out West to Seattle, and a just-as-long trip across the Atlantic for their game against the Rams in London.

The Pats hit the practice field just once last week, getting some extra rest to count up all their The Patriots returned on Monday well-rested, and itching to get on the field.

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Since Belichick took over in 2000, the Patriots are 9-3 following their bye. After losing two of their first three post-bye week games under Belichick, the Patriots have rattled off wins in eight of their last nine post-bye games. Prior to last season’s loss to the Steelers following their Week 7 bye, the Patriots had won eight straight following a week off.

The Patriots have won in convincing fashion too, with their average margin of victory after a bye at 17 points since 2001.

Four of those nine wins have come against the Bills, who the Patriots will take on Sunday afternoon at Gillette. The last time the Patriots and Bills met following a New England bye was Week 7 of the 2007 season, when Tom Brady threw five touchdowns passes in Buffalo in a 56-10 drubbing.

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In total, the Patriots have outscored the Bills 149-65 in their games following a New England bye.

What does this all means for Sunday? Probably nothing. But the Patriots had an extra week to get prepared for a division opponent they are very familiar with. That does not bod well for the Bills.

Tune in to the Patriots-Bills game Sunday afternoon at 1pm on WBZ-TV and 98.5 The Sports Hub. Pre-game coverage begins at 10am on 98.5 with Patriots Preview, and 11:30am on WBZ-TV with Patriots GameDay. Following the game, stay tuned for three hours of postgame coverage on the Hub, and to Patriots 5th Quarter on WBZ-TV.

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