Top 3 Individual Matchups
1 - Marcell Dareus vs. Rodney HudsonBuffalo's nose tackle is coming off his best game of the season. He's probably not 100 percent healthy, but Rodney Hudson will likely need some assistance to deal with Dareus' ability to disrupt an offensive front.
**2 - Jordan Mills vs. Khalil Mack
**The Bills will need to slide protection in Mack's direction and give Mills assistance in the form of tight end help or a back chipping on him in passing situations. Mack will be moved around so the approach can't be completely one-sided knowing that Mack will also face Cordy Glenn. Not to mention that Bruce Irvin is on the other side, but Mack is a potential game wrecker.
3 - Kevon Seymour vs. Amari CooperSeymour is expected to get his first NFL start on the boundary against one of the league leaders in yards after catch. Seymour is a tall and long corner and hopefully that helps against Cooper. He will need to be physical with Cooper, who is adept at walling off defenders to make plays even when he doesn't get good separation.
Top 2 Bills Advantages
Good advantage - Red zone offenseWhen Buffalo cracks an opponent's 20-yard line they've been good at finishing the drive with a touchdown. The Bills rank fifth in the league in red zone touchdown percentage scoring better than two-thirds of the time (66.7%). Oakland's red zone defense is a middle of the pack group ranking 14th in the league.
Best advantage - Run gameBuffalo's ground attack will have to be their meal ticket in this matchup. Their top ranked run game will need to have LeSean McCoy at his best playmaking self and the line will have to reset the line of scrimmage to keep the chains moving, control the clock and keep the fifth-highest scoring offense of the Raiders in the league off the field.
Bills Number 1 Must
Be the better third down offenseIf the Bills are going to win this game they have to keep their drives alive. If they have three or four, three and outs in this matchup it's going to be very hard to win. Oakland's defense is very good at getting off the field on third down ranking fourth in the NFL, but Buffalo has to overcome that and have a better day on third down than the Raiders offense. The key is to limit the number of Raiders possessions to somewhere between eight and 10 for the game.
In the blackYes, the Raiders have a ton of offensive weapons for QB Derek Carr to utilize in their offense, and it's part of the reason why they're fifth in the league in scoring. Another reason is the extra opportunities their defense provides via the takeaway. Oakland has 19 takeaways on the season good for fourth-most in the NFL. It helps make the Raiders the third-best team in football in turnover margin at plus-10.
Carr has been good at protecting the football. He's thrown just five interceptions on more than 420 pass attempts, giving him an even lower interception percentage (1.2%) than Tyrod Taylor (1.3%).
Fourth quarter phenomCarr is enjoying a breakout season. Where his game has flourished the most is in the fourth quarter. Carr already has nine fourth quarter comebacks in his two-plus seasons in the NFL and this season leads the NFL in fourth quarter passer rating (121.3). Carr is completing 67 percent of his passes in the final stanza this season with nine touchdowns and just one interception. He's also averaging more than nine yards per attempt in the game's final frame.
Taking the close onesIt began with a one-point win in the season opener at New Orleans. Ever since then Oakland has found a way to come out on top of most of their close games. The Raiders have posted a 7-1 record in games decided by seven points or less this season, including a six-point win over Tampa Bay in overtime.
Their only loss in a close game came back in Week 2 when they dropped a 35-28 decision to Atlanta.
Over their headAs effective as Oakland's defense has been in getting off the field on third down (they rank 4th), they struggle when it comes to giving up big plays. They rank 29th in surrendering plays of 20 yards or more with 51 on the season. Forty-four of those have come through the air, which ranks third-most in the NFL. All those big plays are why Oakland is last in the league in yards allowed per play (6.23).
YAC-ing it upAs much as Oakland's pass defense has been a victim of the big play, their offense has equally victimized their opponents. The Raiders receiving corps ranks eighth in the NFL in yards after catch with a total of over 1,300 through their first 11 games. Amari Cooper is the biggest contributor as he has the second-highest total of yards after the catch among receivers with 374. Only Detroit's Golden Tate has more (422).
Oakland stands fifth in the league in plays of 20 yards or more with 51 thus far this season.
Flagged downA persistent problem for the Raiders this season has been the penalty count. Oakland has been flagged more than any other team this year. They average almost 10 penalties per game (9.55) and set a single-game NFL record with 23 penalties for 200 yards in a Week 8 game against Tampa Bay. Surprisingly, the Raiders still won the game 30-24 in overtime. With 105 penalties this season the Raiders are just 53 penalties away from the single-season record (158 - Kansas City 1998).
Stat of the weekTyrod Taylor has a rushing touchdown in four of his last five games.
Quote of the week"Every game out from here in is very important. Going on a road game, a West Coast trip, we've been here before. We've just got to focus in. As an offense, mistake-free, keeping drives alive, stay on the field, and putting points up. [It's as] simple as that."
--RB LeSean McCoy
Milestones in reachBuffalo's next victory will be the 400th in team history.
LeSean McCoy needs six yards from scrimmage to reach 1,000 all-purpose yards on the season.
Tyrod Taylor needs 43 rushing yards to pass Jim Kelly for the second most rushing yards by a quarterback in team annals.
Kyle Williams needs one sack to reach 40 for his career.
Final noteThe Bills are first in the league in runs of 20 yards or more with 16. Oakland's defense is 19th in 20-plus yard runs allowed this season (7).