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Patriots coach Bill Belichick more concerned with the Bills than the Buffalo weather

Bill Belichick had his Patriots practice outside Wednesday in preparation for this season's third meeting against the Bills.Stew Milne/Associated Press

FOXBOROUGH — It’s looking more like a three-dog night when the underdog Patriots face the Bills Saturday in prime time in the hyperborean Buffalo suburb of Orchard Park, N.Y.

The National Weather Service app seemingly drops the predicted temperature for kickoff by the hour, and on Wednesday the service was calling for a low of 2 degrees, with a chance of snow showers.

Bill Belichick, who almost always has his charges practice outside, expressed faith that his players will not be deterred by whatever Mother Nature has in store for the club’s first playoff game in two seasons.

“I think over the course of the year we’ve dealt with almost everything,” the Patriots coach said. “I have a lot of confidence in our players. Through the course of their careers, they’ve dealt with multiple situations of all various types, so hopefully we’re prepared for that.”


Echoing the sentiments of his assistants and players over the last few days, Belichick said his focus is on only one thing.

“I’m more worried about the Bills than the weather,” he said. “I think the Bills are what we have to focus on and that’s who we have to beat. The weather is the weather.”

This will be the third time the teams have met this season, with each winning at the other team’s stadium. Belichick said preparing for a rubber match isn’t a whole lot different from when division teams face off for a second time.

“I’d say what’s a little bit different about this one is just how quickly we’ve played Buffalo with a couple of weeks in between each of the games,” he said. “Again, we know each other well. I’m sure there’ll be wrinkles. I’m sure there’ll be things that both teams will do that try to keep the other team off-balance or to give them a little bit of a different look.


“I think that’s just part of it, whether it’s three games or you play a team twice every year for multiple years. It’s kind of the same thing. Each game has its own unique circumstances and matchups. The plays won’t get called against the same defenses or vice versa. We’ll have to see how things play out.”

For the record, the Bills practiced inside Wednesday.

Practice report

Perhaps trying to conjure the good feelings generated by their last trip to Western New York, the Patriots blared “Outside (100 MPH)” by Meek Mill during Wednesday’s practice.

It was breezy inside Gillette Stadium, but not nearly as windy as it was during the 14-10 win the Patriots scored over the Bills Dec. 6.

Belichick offered a simple explanation for why his team practiced on the turf, rather than the natural grass fields behind the stadium. “It’s not frozen,” the coach said with a smile.

There was a mixed bag of news from the session. New England was missing a couple of starters, cornerback Jalen Mills (reserve/COVID-19) and left tackle Isaiah Wynn (ankle/hip). In addition, linebacker Jamie Collins did not participate because of an ankle injury.

Belichick didn’t rule out Mills for the game, saying, “We’ll see how it goes.”

On the plus side, safety Kyle Dugger, who missed all of last week with a hand injury, was listed as limited, though he was not spotted during the portion of practice media were allowed to observe. In addition, defensive tackle Christian Barmore, who was carted to the locker room late in Sunday’s loss to the Dolphins, was at practice and was moving freely during stretching and individual drills. Linebacker Dont’a Hightower, who missed the Dolphins game because of a knee injury, also was on hand.


Despite the fact that he was banged up in Sunday's loss to Miami, could Christian Barmore -- seen here earlier in the season -- be ready to go for Saturday's game against Buffalo?Jim Davis/Globe Staff

In addition, defensive back Myles Bryant and offensive tackle Yodny Cajuste practiced after being reinstated from the reserve/COVID-19 list.

New faces included cornerbacks Cre’Von LeBlanc and D.J. Daniel, linebacker LaRoy Reynolds, and tight end Jaylen Smith, all of whom were recently signed to the practice squad.

Limited involvement

In addition to Dugger, Barmore, and Hightower, eight other players were listed as limited: center David Andrews (shoulder); running back Damien Harris (hamstring); receiver Jakobi Meyers (thigh); defensive lineman Lawrence Guy (shoulder); safety Adrian Phillips (knee); special teamers Brandon King (toe) and Cody Davis (wrist); and kicker Nick Folk (left knee) … According to an ESPN report, the Bears have requested permission to interview Patriots scouting consultant Eliot Wolf for their general manager job … When asked his feelings about the recent firings of Brian Flores (by the Dolphins) and Joe Judge (by the Giants), Belichick said he would keep any conversations he’s had with his former assistants private … Recent history would suggest a close game means good news for the Patriots. Of Buffalo’s 11 wins, nine were by at least 15 points. The Bills were 0-5 in games decided by 7 points or fewer.

Jim McBride can be reached at james.mcbride@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globejimmcbride.