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Gameday Tipsheet - Week 16

Top 3 Individual Matchups
1. Lee Evans vs. Christopher Owens –
Owens is a rookie, but has appeared in all 14 games for the Falcons. He'll have his hands full with a veteran of Evans savvy and speed. However, a new signal caller for the Bills with all of four practices with Evans could level the playing field a bit.

2. Jonathan Scott vs. John Abraham –Abraham hasn't been nearly as productive as he has been in the past with just 4.5 sacks this season, but the Bills have had their share of problems protecting on the edges this season. In a road atmosphere in a dome, noise will be a factor and an advantage for the veteran pass rusher.

3. Reggie Corner vs. Roddy White –White (6'0" 214) will have a clear size advantage against Corner (5'9" 175) so the cornerback will have to time his jumps well to challenge for the ball at its high point on deep balls down the sideline and jump balls in the end zone.

Bills Top 2 Advantages
Good advantage –
Punt return – The Bills haven't been wildly successful on punt returns this season, but Roscoe Parrish might be finding his groove after a 20-yard return last week. The Falcons have struggled covering punts as they rank 30th in the league giving up over 11 yards per return including a touchdown on the season.

Best advantage –Pass defense – For a Falcons offense that has passed 57 percent of the time this season, the Bills might not be the defense they want to see. Buffalo ranks third in the league in pass defense and leads the NFL in interceptions with 26.

Bills Number 1 Must
Run game –
Week after week pounding the football on the ground has been the game plan, but rarely have the Bills been able to stick with it due to the score on the board in some games of late. It's important that Buffalo has success on the ground against the league's 20th ranked run defense, especially if Brian Brohm is the starter at quarterback. The offensive burden has to rest on Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch's shoulders.

Scouting Eye
3rd down doldrums
While the Bills have had a myriad of problems converting third downs on offense, where they rank last in the league (25.3%), the Falcons have just as much trouble stopping their opponents. Atlanta allows their opponents to convert third downs almost 47 percent of the time, which largely explains why the Falcons are the league's 28th ranked defense. Part of the problem is Atlanta allows an average of six yards against them on first down (5.73) putting their opponents in favorable third down and distance situations.

Dome homeUnder head coach Mike Smith the Falcons have developed a true home field advantage at the Georgia Dome. After going 7-1 at home last season, the Falcons are already 5-2 this season with their only losses coming at the hands of playoff bound New Orleans and Philadelphia. Only the Colts and Vikings have more home wins (13) over the past two seasons than Atlanta (12).

Line is fineFalcons left tackle Sam Baker is still banged up, but Atlanta's offensive line has done a good job of protecting their quarterbacks this season. The Falcons have given up just 23 sacks this season, good for fifth best in the NFL. Earlier this season Atlanta's offensive line went a streak of better than four games (18 quarters) without giving up a sack. Since 2008 the Falcons have had 13 games in which they have not surrendered a sack.

Going for itFalcons head coach Mike Smith has not been shy when it comes to going for it on fourth down this season. A total of 18 times this season Atlanta has kept their offense on the field on fourth down and 13 times they have converted. Their 13 conversions rank third best in the NFL and their success rate of better than 72 percent is second best in football.

Big time players nickedTwo of Atlanta's most noteworthy playmakers are nicked up. Leading rusher Michael Turner re-aggravated his high ankle sprain last week against the Jets and is not expected to play on Sunday as he'll turn things over to Jason Snelling and Jerrious Norwood in the run game. Meanwhile middle linebacker Curtis Lofton, the team's leading tackler, is battling shoulder and hamstring injuries and may also not be available.

Going to GonzoWhen your offense needs a third down conversion it's hard not to look at a Hall of Fame tight end like Tony Gonzalez. Through 14 games that's just what Falcons' quarterbacks have done. Gonzalez ranks sixth in the league in third down receiving. Thus far this season the Atlanta tight end has 26 third down receptions for 309 yards and two touchdowns.

Buffalo Chips
Quote of the Week
"I think everybody just wants an opportunity and if I get the opportunity on Sunday to go out there and play I need to seize it. No matter what the circumstances it doesn't matter that this is my first week getting reps in this offense. I need to seize this opportunity and try to make the most of it."
--QB Brian Brohm

Stat of the WeekFred Jackson is averaging 117 rush yards per game in two starts against the NFC this season.

Milestones in reachLee Evans needs 31 receiving yards to move into third place on the Bills' all-time receiving yardage list.
Chris Kelsay needs one sack to set a new single-season career high.
Terrell Owens needs two receptions to become the sixth player in NFL history with 1,000 for a career.
Paul Posluszny needs one interception for his third consecutive game with an INT.

Final NoteWith a win the Bills would improve to 3-1 this season against NFC South opponents.

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