Buddy Nix isn't afraid of the New England Patriots, and the Buffalo Bills general manager gets a big chuckle out of how the statement he's made several times this offseason can create such an eyebrow-raising stir.
Then again, Nix doesn't see a need to take back what he's said in what can be interpreted as yet another sign of how the expectations have changed on a team eager to shed its longtime reputation of being the AFC East's doormats and, more specifically, the Patriots' patsies.
''Listen, I want you to write this,'' Nix said. ''The Patriots are where we want to be. If we're going to win the division, we've got to beat them. Then our next step is we want to be the favorite every year, just like they are.
''And if we're scared of them, we got no chance of doing that.''
Believing - or Bill-ieving as it's phrased in Buffalo - they're pushovers no longer, the Bills have assumed a sort of swagger in preparing to open the season on Sept. 9 against the New York Jets.
''It's got to...