The third preseason game is usually the last major dress rehearsal for the starters prior to the regular season, but with Trent Edwards out for the game in addition to two of his top four receivers in James Hardy and Roscoe Parrish the game will mean opportunity for players not on the first line of Buffalo's depth chart.
"Yeah, I'll be getting more quality reps, and it's always good to get those reps, but when you're out there you have to make the most of it," said receiver Justin Jenkins. "I'm going to do what I can, if it's J.P. (Losman) or whoever's in there. I just have to give the quarterback a good look, and if I'm open, hopefully they hit me with it. I'm just going to make the most of my opportunities."
That's exactly what Jenkins did last year in the preseason, but his best performance came in the preseason finale at Detroit when more time was afforded to the non-regulars. Now Jauron and his staff will have a whole extra game to look extensively as some players, particularly receiver, that may not has seen as much playing time had the full roster been healthy.
"I like that whole group of guys," said Jauron. "Felton (Huggins) has shown a little speed and an ability to go up and catch the ball in practice, and Justin (Jenkins) is just consistent and tough, and plays hard all of the time. He'll challenge you physically. Steve (Johnson)'s the same way, he's just learning how to play. Both Justin and Felton have been around in our system for a year, so they're a little more comfortable with it. Stevie's just learning, but he's physical, he's a tough player, he's got good size. Scott (Mayle)'s got speed out there, and he's just coming back, he looks healthy again, so we're anxious to see him play."
Trent Edwards will not play due to a deep thigh contusion. J.P. Losman will start in his place. While Jauron would like to have Edwards play, he would not call the lost opportunity for his starting quarterback a negative.
"I don't know the answer to that. I have opinions, and my opinion is that there's no way to know that until you get into the season," said Jauron. "If we get into the season and we're doing fine, I don't think anybody will think that it hurt us at all. I don't know. It could be a positive thing. He gets to rest for a week. He rests his arm, he gets to sit back and look at things. There's no way of telling. It's just guessing."
Jon Banks (groin), James Hardy (hamstring), Matt Murphy (rotator cuff), Roscoe Parrish (knee), Derek Schouman (knee) are not expected to play.
John DiGiorgio (calf) returned to practice Friday and is probable. Patrick Estes missed practice Friday with an excused absence, but is expected to play after not playing in the previous preseason contest.
Offensive lineman Dustin Dickinson who was signed on Thursday is also expected to play.
The Indianapolis Colts will also be without their starting quarterback as Peyton Manning still has not recovered from knee surgery which was performed just before the opening of training camp.
Backup quarterback Jim Sorgi has started in his place the entire preseason for the Colts.
Even without Manning in the lineup, Buffalo's defense is looking forward to facing a high octane offense like that of the Colts.
"They're obviously very talented, and they're well-coached," said Paul Posluszny. "So to have an opportunity to play against these guys now and to get some reps against them, and to go against their style, their running attack is a little bit different. What they do in the passing game, we'll see other teams do that throughout the year, so it's good to get reps against these guys because we'll see similar offenses later on in the season."
Defensive end Dwight Freeney (foot) and two-time Pro Bowl safety Bob Sanders are both expected to see their first preseason game action Sunday night as both began practicing this week.
Freeney may only play a couple of series, but Sanders is expected to play a bit more.
Safety Melvin Bullitt, who has missed the first three preseason games for the Colts with a thumb injury, is also expected to play.
Colts head coach Tony Dungy said his starters on offense and defense are expected to play deep into the third quarter.
Dungy also said this is the first preseason game in which they are game planning for their opponent. It's due mainly to the length of time the starters are expected to play. In addition to game planning for the Bills, the Colts will also make adjustments as the game wears on in response to how Buffalo plays them.
This is the fifth preseason meeting all time between the Bills and the Colts. Indianapolis has won three of the previous four exhibition contests. The last preseason meeting came in 2005 when the Colts claimed a 17-10 victory in Indianapolis.
Buffalo has never won a preseason contest in Indianapolis compiling an 0-3 record, but this will be their first visit as well as the first NFL game played in newly opened Lucas Oil Stadium.
Bills on TV
Sunday night's contest between the Bills and Colts will air live on the NFL Network and locally in Buffalo on WKBW-TV Channel 7.