Top 3 Individual Matchups
1 – Leodis McKelvin vs. Calvin Johnson** – The two former high school adversaries will renew their one-on-one battles Sunday. McKelvin is coming off of his best performance so far this season in Week 4 where he had an acrobatic interception and three tackles.
2 – Erik Pears vs. Ndamukong Suh – Buffalo's right guard will be seeing Suh more than any other offensive lineman, and he'll need some assistance knowing most opponents cannot handle him in one-on-one situations very often.
3 – Sammy Watkins vs. Darius Slay – It's a dynamic rookie receiver against a second-year corner, who is fourth on the team in tackles and leads the team in pass breakups. Slay is also tied for the team lead in interceptions.
Bills Top 2 Advantages
Good advantage – Pass rush – Detroit's pass rush is pretty formidable in its own right, but facing the Lions' offensive line could prove fruitful for Buffalo's pass rushers off the edge. Through the first four games this season the Lions have given up the third-most sacks in the league.
Best advantage – Run defense – Again the Lions' run 'D' is a top 10 unit as well, but in this matchup Buffalo's third-ranked run defense has a big edge against a Detroit run game that ranks just 25th in the league and might be without the services of Joique Bell (concussion).
Bills Number 1 Must
Convert third downs – Buffalo's third down success rate has been on a steady decline through the first four weeks of the season. With Kyle Orton at quarterback this week, the Bills need to improve their efficiency on third down to keep drives alive against a team that's capable of putting up points.
Cool under pressure**
He doesn't make the play every time, but Matthew Stafford is pretty cool when facing blitz situations. So far this season the Lions' former number one overall pick has gone 16-25 passing for 257 yards and two touchdowns, while also taking two sacks. Those numbers are good for a passer rating of 124.9, the fourth highest figure in the league.
Missing in the middle
The Lions will be playing their second game since losing MLB Stephen Tulloch to a season-ending knee injury. Tulloch suffered a torn ACL in Week 3 when he was celebrating a sack of Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers. Surgery was performed this week and deemed a success. Last Sunday was the first game Tulloch missed in his nine-year career. Stepping in to take his place is Tahir Whitehead a third-year player out of Temple.
Waiting until third down
Detroit's offense has solid weapons at the skill positions, but it hasn't translated into much offensive success on first or second down. In fact the Lions rank 30th in the league in first down efficiency where they gain four yards or more just over 40 percent of the time (40.2%). On second down their conversion percentage is just a shade over 27 percent, which ranks 27th in the NFL. However, those substandard numbers haven't meant a whole lot in negatively impacting the Lions' success rate on third down.
The Lions stand fourth in the league in third down conversion percentage at an impressive 52.4 percent. In third-and-short situations they rank fourth in the league as well (75%) and in third-and-medium they rank second in the league with a 73.3 percent conversion rate.
Making negatives a positive
Detroit's defense has been stingy the first month of the season when it comes to giving up yards. They rank first in the league in yards allowed per game, but perhaps even more impressive are their tackles for loss. The Lions are tied for second in the league in opponent rushes for negative yardage with 16. They also rank third in the NFL for opponent yards lost on negative plays (-113).
Lions' All-Pro WR Calvin Johnson has been hobbled by an ankle injury the last couple of weeks. His two-catch 12-yard output last week against the Jets was his lowest production in a game in almost five seasons. Johnson did not practice at all last week leading up to last Sunday's game. There's a chance he might practice more this week, and he is expected to play, but he's not expected to be 100 percent healthy.
Quote of the Week
"I think we've got a lot of good players. All across the board we've got young talent on the outside. We've got two running backs that can take a lot of pressure off of us. And I think when you ask the offensive line to do the right thing I think they can really play hard for you and do a lot of great things. We're going up against a good defense on the road. We're going to have to play our best football to come out with a win."
-QB Kyle Orton
Stat of the Week
Kyle Orton is 4-0 lifetime against the Detroit Lions passing for 822 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions and a 102.2 passer rating.
Milestones in reach
-Fred Jackson needs two rushing touchdowns to become the fourth Bills player with 30 or more in his time with Buffalo.
-Mike Williams needs three receptions for 225 in his career.
-Mario Williams needs one sack for 80 in his NFL career.
In his last eight games against NFC opponents, Mario Williams has 10.5 sacks.