There are few forces or teams that are capable of slowing the New England Patriots offense.

The idea hits so close to home that Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan joked this week that he needed King Kong to slow down Pats tight end Rob Gronkowski.

That might be true for most teams or coaches. It isn’t for Ryan.

In two meetings last year, when Ryan was with the Jets, New York held Gronkowski to a combined eight catches for 99 yards. While that might not qualify as a notable defense against most players, it does against Gronkowski.

The way he did it was by trying to keep Gronkowski’s impact limited instead of trying to erase him. Instead of trying to jam Gronkowski at the line, he’d have his defenders sit back and keep him in front of them.

It seems like a simple approach. But many teams try to out-muscle Gronkowski and end up being exposed.

For Buffalo to win, they’ll need to use a similar approach or find another way to limit Gronkowski’s impact.

If the Bills are successful and find a way to stop the other 10 men on offense for New England, it might be time to start considering the possibility of them competing for a playoff spot.

It’s doubtful they’ll overtake New England in the AFC East, but Ryan should have one of the better defenses in the NFL in terms of personnel and a scheme to match. The question is if the offense will be able to score enough and limit mistakes.

If Tyrod Taylor proves to a serviceable game manager, the Bills could quickly be in business.

It’s also possible that the good feelings following last week’s 27-14 win over the Indianapolis Colts evaporate if Gronkowski gets loose and helps the Patriots to a victory.

Nick Underhill

NICK’S PICKS: Underhill’s top five teams (this week)

1. PATRIOTS (1-0)

The Patriots made it look like the Steelers weren’t prepared last week. How do you leave Rob Gronkowski open so often? The performance was so strong Pittsburgh was left to blame the communication devices for the outcome.

2. PACKERS (1-0)

Green Bay is one of the early favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. We should get a good look at where they stand this weekend against the Seahawks.

3. CARDINALS (1-0)

The view locally is that the Saints played a poor game against the Cardinals. The real view should be that Arizona has a solid defense and Carson Palmer is good enough to let the defense carry the Cardinals.

4. SEAHAWKS (0-1)

Not ready to give up on Seattle. The Seahawks still have a solid defense and the Week 1 loss to the Rams wasn’t enough to erase confidence. If they struggle against the Packers again, then it will be time to talk.

5. BRONCOS (2-0)

This team snuck into a 2-0 record. It might be time to throw out the new offense and go with the stuff Peyton Manning is comfortable with. That was a different quarterback late in the game against the Chiefs.

This Week’s Games

NEW ENGLAND (1-0) AT BUFFALO (1-0)

WHEN: Noon Sunday

LINE: PICK ’EM

BRIEFLY: PATRIOTS ARE 26-3 IN PAST 29 MEETINGS AGAINST AFC EAST RIVALS, THOUGH BILLS BEAT THEM IN LAST YEAR’S MEAN-NOTHING SEASON FINALE WHEN NEW ENGLAND RESTED MOST OF ITS STARTERS. BUFFALO HASN’T WON TWO STRAIGHT AGAINST PATS SINCE THREE-GAME WIN STREAK SPANNING 1999-2000. ... PATRIOTS QB TOM BRADY IS 23-3 AGAINST BILLS.

NICK’S PICK: PATRIOTS 27, BILLS 20

HOUSTON (0-1) AT CAROLINA (1-0)

WHEN: Noon Sunday

LINE: PANTHERS BY 3

BRIEFLY: TEXANS COACH BILL O’BRIEN CHOSE RYAN MALLETT OVER LAST WEEK’S STARTER, BRIAN HOYER, AT QB. ... RB ALFRED BLUE OF LSU HAS 359 YARDS FROM SCRIMMAGE IN FOUR CAREER STARTS. ... IN PAST SIX GAMES, DE J.J. WATT HAS 13 SACKS, TWO FORCED FUMBLES, A SAFETY AND A TD CATCH. WATT HAD SIX TACKLES FOR A LOSS AND TWO SACKS VS. CHIEFS. ... TEXANS HAVE 10 FIRST-ROUND PICKS ON ROSTER.

NICK’S PICK: TEXANS 17, PANTHERS 13

SAN DIEGO (1-0) AT CINCINNATI (1-0)

WHEN: Noon Sunday

LINE: BENGALS BY 31/2

BRIEFLY: CHARGERS WON FIRST-ROUND PLAYOFF GAME AT PAUL BROWN STADIUM IN 2013 SEASON, ENDING STREAK OF THREE STRAIGHT LOSSES TO BENGALS. ... CHARGERS HAD MOST YARDS ON OFFENSE (483) IN NFL IN OPENING WEEK. ... PHILIP RIVERS COMPLETED LAST 20 PASSES VS DETROIT, A CLUB RECORD. ... BENGALS RB AND FORMER LSU STANDOUT JEREMY HILL HAS RUN FOR 992 YARDS AND EIGHT TDS IN HIS PAST 10 GAMES,

NICK’S PICK: CHARGERS 20, BENGALS 17

SAN FRANCISCO (1-0) AT PITTSBURGH (0-1)

WHEN: Noon Sunday

LINE: STEELERS BY 61/2

BRIEFLY: TEAMS HAVE SPLIT LAST FOUR MEETINGS. ... SAN FRANCISCO COACH JIM TOMSULA IS PITTSBURGH NATIVE WHOSE GRANDFATHER OWNED RESTAURANT NEAR FORBES FIELD, FORMER HOME OF STEELERS AND BASEBALL’S PIRATES. ... 49ERS RB CARLOS HYDE’S 168 YARDS IN OPENER WERE MOST BY SAN FRANCISCO BACK IN FIRST START SINCE 1970.

NICK’S PICK: STEELERS 21, 49ERS 17

TENNESSEE (1-0) AT CLEVELAND (0-1)

WHEN: Noon Sunday

LINE: TITANS BY 11/2

BRIEFLY: ROOKIE QB MARCUS MARIOTA THREW FOUR TOUCHDOWN PASSES IN FIRST HALF IN NFL DEBUT. ... MARIOTA POSTED PERFECT 158.3 PASSER RATING, COMPLETING 13 OF 16 PASSES FOR 209 YARDS, FOUR TDS AND NO INTERCEPTIONS. ... BROWNS LOST RECORD 11TH STRAIGHT SEASON OPENER WITH AWFUL SHOWING IN NEW YORK.

NICK’S PICK: TITANS 20, BROWNS 17

ARIZONA (1-0) AT CHICAGO (1-0)

WHEN: Noon Sunday

LINE: CARDINALS BY 11/2

BRIEFLY: CARDINALS RUSHED FOR 120 YARDS AGAINST SAINTS, AVERAGING 4.8 PER CARRY. LAST SEASON, THEY RANKED LAST IN NFL WITH 3.3 YARDS PER ATTEMPT. ... ARIZONA HELD NEW ORLEANS TO 54 YARDS RUSHING. ... QB CARSON PALMER IS 14-2 IN HIS PAST 16 STARTS, WITH SEVEN STRAIGHT WINS. ... RB MATT FORTE OF TULANE HAD 24 CARRIES FOR 141 YARDS LAST WEEK.

NICK’S PICK: CARDINALS 21, BEARS 16

DETROIT (0-1) AT MINNESOTA (0-1)

WHEN: Noon Sunday

LINE: VIKINGS BY 2

BRIEFLY: LIONS HAVE WON SIX OF LAST NINE IN SERIES, REBOUNDING FROM STRETCH WHEN VIKINGS WON 20 OF 22. ...LIONS WR CALVIN JOHNSON WAS HELD TO TWO CATCHES BY CHARGERS FOR 39 YARDS. HE HASN’T SCORED VS. VIKINGS SINCE NOV. 11, 2012, AND OVER LAST THREE MATCHUPS WITH MINNESOTA TOTALED MERE 13 CATCHES AND 144 YARDS. ... ERIC EBRON, FACING VIKINGS TEAM THAT HAS HAD TROUBLE DEFENDING PASS-CATCHING TES IN RECENT YEARS, HAD CAREER-HIGH 53 YARDS IN OPENER.

NICK’S PICK: LIONS 20, VIKINGS 17

ATLANTA (1-0) AT NEW YORK GIANTS (0-1)

WHEN: Noon Sunday

LINE: GIANTS BY 21/2

BRIEFLY: GIANTS HAVE WON FOUR OF LAST FIVE AGAINST FALCONS. ... FALCONS QB MATT RYAN IS 52 OF 73 FOR 586 YARDS WITH FOUR TOUCHDOWNS AND ONE INTERCEPTION IN LAST TWO AGAINST NEW YORK. ... GIANTS QB ELI MANNING HAS WON FIVE OF LAST SIX AGAINST ATLANTA. ... WR ODELL BECKHAM JR. OF LSU MADE NFL DEBUT AGAINST FALCONS AND HAD FOUR CATCHES FOR 44 YARDS AND A TOUCHDOWN.

NICK’S PICK: FALCONS 24, GIANTS 20

ST. LOUIS (1-0) AT WASHINGTON (0-1)

WHEN: Noon Sunday

LINE: RAMS BY 3

BRIEFLY: IN PAST TWO STARTS AGAINST WASHINGTON (WHEN HE WAS WITH EAGLES), RAMS QB NICK FOLES IS 2-0, GOING 44 FOR 67 FOR 623 YARDS, THREE TDS AND ZERO INTERCEPTIONS. ... REDSKINS GAVE UP 69-YARD RETURN TD TO MIAMI’S JARVIS LANDRY OF LSU IN THEIR WEEK 1 LOSS.

NICK’S PICK: RAMS 28, REDSKINS 17

BALTIMORE (0-1) AT OAKLAND (0-1)

WHEN: 3:05 Sunday

LINE: RAVENS BY 6

BRIEFLY: RAIDERS’ ONLY WIN VS. RAVENS CAME IN 2003. ... BALTIMORE OUTSCORED OAKLAND 133-49 IN LAST FOUR MEETINGS. ... RAVENS SPENT WEEK IN BAY AREA PRACTICING IN SAN JOSE TO AVOID EXTRA CROSS-COUNTRY FLIGHTS. ... BALTIMORE HAD NO OFFENSIVE TDS AND ALLOWED NO OFFENSIVE TDS IN OPENER. ... RAVENS AVERAGED 3.0 YARDS PER PLAY IN LOSS TO BRONCOS.

NICK’S PICK: RAVENS 24, RAIDERS 13

MIAMI (1-0) AT JACKSONVILLE (0-1)

WHEN: 3:05 p.m. Sunday

LINE: DOLPHINS BY 51/2

BRIEFLY: IN-STATE TEAMS MEETING FOR SECOND TIME IN AS MANY YEARS, BOTH IN JACKSONVILLE. DOLPHINS RETURNED TWO INTERCEPTIONS FOR TOUCHDOWNS IN 2014 MEETING, MADE DIFFERENCE IN 27-13 VICTORY. ... DOLPHINS AND JAGUARS EACH SCORED ONE OFFENSIVE TOUCHDOWN IN WEEK 1. ... DOLPHINS WR JARVIS LANDRY OF LSU HAS CAUGHT FIVE OR MORE PASSES IN 10 CONSECUTIVE GAMES.

NICK’S PICK: DOLPHINS 27, JAGUARS 19

DALLAS (1-0) AT PHILADELPHIA (0-1)

WHEN: 3:25 p.m. Sunday

LINE: EAGLES BY 41/2

BRIEFLY: COWBOYS ARE 7-5 VS. EAGLES AT LINC, INCLUDING THREE STRAIGHT WINS IN PHILLY. ... TEAMS HAVE COMBINED TO WIN 25 OF 44 NFC EAST TITLES. ... ALL-PRO RB DEMARCO MURRAY FACES FORMER TEAM FOR FIRST TIME SINCE JOINING EAGLES AFTER BREAKING EMMITT SMITH’S SINGLE-SEASON RUSHING RECORD IN DALLAS LAST YEAR. ... COWBOYS SEEK FIRST 2-0 START SINCE 2008 AND 10TH STRAIGHT ROAD WIN.

NICK’S PICK: EAGLES 28, COWBOYS 24

SEATTLE (0-1) AT GREEN BAY (1-0)

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Sunday

LINE: PACKERS BY 31/2

BRIEFLY: TEAMS LAST MET IN NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, WHEN PACKERS BLEW 16-0 HALFTIME LEAD. P JON RYAN THREW TD PASS ON FAKE FG PLAY, AND SEAHAWKS RECOVERED ONSIDE KICK IN WIN. ... PACKERS RB EDDIE LACY, A FORMER DUTCHTOWN STANDOUT, HAS RUSHED FOR AT LEAST 90 YARDS IN SIX OF LAST NINE GAMES, INCLUDING PLAYOFFS.

NICK’S PICK: PACKERS 24, SEAHAWKS 20

NEW YORK JETS (1-0) AT INDIANAPOLIS (0-1)

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Monday

LINE: COLTS BY 7

BRIEFLY: IT’S UNCLEAR IF CB ANTONIO CROMARTIE WILL PLAY MONDAY NIGHT AFTER SPRAINING LEFT KNEE. ... FORMER COLTS CENTER JEFF SATURDAY WILL BE INDUCTED INTO RING OF HONOR AT HALFTIME. ... SINCE ANDREW LUCK ARRIVED IN 2012, COLTS HAVE ONLY LOST BACK TO BACK ONE TIME IN REGULAR SEASON. ... LUCK WILL START 50TH GAME. ... INDY RB FRANK GORE NEEDS 133 YARDS RUSHING TO PASS O.J. SIMPSON FOR NO. 19.

NICK’S PICK: COLTS 27, JETS 21

FOR THE RECORD

Nick’s picks last week: 7-8

For the season: 7-8