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Passing Game Has Stiff Opening Challenge

They've combined for 72 interceptions. Since Champ Bailey and Dre Bly both entered the league in 1999 they rank second and fourth respectively in career picks. They're not afraid to be aggressive and press receivers and they win a good number of their battles.

And now they're playing in the same secondary. In the past Denver opponents would at times shy away from throwing in Bailey's direction instead throwing to the side of the field that was covered by the late Darrent Williams. But now with Bly on the other side a team's first two options at receiver figure to be well covered.

So what's an offense to do when it's time to throw?

J.P. Losman and Buffalo's passing attack will be the first to find out Sunday, but they fully believe that they'll be able to make their share of plays in the opener.

"We are very, very confident - like I said from the beginning," said Losman. "We also know that there is a lot of work that has to get done, but we like where we are at, we like our chance, we like the schemes, we love our players, our offensive line, our tight ends, our receivers, our running backs and our quarterback situation. Right now everything is set and it's going to be fun to see how we go and see how much we get accomplished."

Though it was only Wednesday Peerless Price came off the practice field encouraged by what offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild was putting into the game plan for what's widely considered one of the better cornerback tandems.

"I like what we have put in so far, we don't have our whole package in, but thus far I like the things we're doing and hopefully we can be successful in doing those," said Price. "There are going to be plays for us to make we've just go to make them."

While the Bills have a lot of respect for Bailey, who many in Buffalo's locker room consider the best cover corner in the league, they don't sound like they're going to shy away from challenging him in the game Sunday knowing Lee Evans will likely be Bailey's top assignment.

"If they want to play one-on-one match up with (Lee Evans) we are going to take our chances," said Losman. "It's our best receiver versus their best corner. We feel Lee is one of the top receivers in the league. He probably should have got more recognition last year which he didn't. Then you have Champ Bailey who has been getting the recognition for a couple of years. It is going to be fun to see those guys go at it if they want to give us one-on-one match-ups."

"To be good you have to go against the best," said Evans plainly. "It's a match-up that I am certainly looking forward to. That whole defense and their whole secondary is a veteran secondary and to be successful against them you have to be good. I think we prepare hard and we have to take what they throw at us. We can't back down just because they've been good. We've got to go out and try to do things the way we need to. I think everybody, especially in the receiving room, is looking forward to it."

"I think they're smart, savvy and crafty," said Price of Bailey and Bly. "Champ is the best, hands down, but even the best can be beaten."

But poised to help Bailey and Bly on the back end is Denver's latest veteran signee Simeon Rice. Signed on Tuesday Rice might be ready to play Sunday. Only Bruce Smith, Reggie White and Kevin Greene have more double digit sack seasons than Rice. With his pass rushing ability coming off the edge it could raise the degree of difficulty to make plays consistently in the passing game.

Price had a personal request for Rice for Sunday knowing the impact he can have on a game.

"Hopefully Simeon you'll just be a spot player," said Price. "You don't need to come in week one and get two or three sacks. Get your conditioning up for week three or even week two is alright."

"Everybody knows he's a tremendous pass rusher," said head coach Dick Jauron. "He's had great success in the league rushing the passer. I have no idea whether he'll be ready. My hope is that he's not, that he gets real good down the line somewhere else. I imagine they'll use him rushing the passer. That's what he does. That's how he's made his name."

Denver head coach Mike Shanahan hasn't decided how much or if Rice will dress on Sunday.

To counter that potential weapon however, the Bills have rookie tailback Marshawn Lynch who could represent a coverage problem for the Broncos. Though the Broncos' linebacking corps is athletic, a defense almost has to commit a defensive back to Lynch if they want effective coverage.

"If guys want to drop back and just kind of play one-on-one with the back with a linebacker or anybody they are going to have a tough time," said Losman. "We are going to move (Lynch) around and try to find that one-on-one match-up and if they give it to us we're going to take it because he is that good. That is what he does best."

Lynch's effectiveness in the run game is obviously also a factor as it can force safeties to creep up to the line providing more passing options over the top.

Still the Bills know Denver's pass defense will be formidable with the talent they've added on the front and back end. But the Bills attack believes they're much better as well.

"It's a challenge but we are definitely looking forward to it and definitely confident," said Losman. "It's time now for everyone to see how much better we've gotten."

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