When the Tennessee Titans step on the field at Ralph Wilson Stadium, they'll be looking for their first set of back-to-back wins in more than two months. Still, the Titans remain within striking distance of their first playoff berth in three years.
The Buffalo Bills might need to win the rest of their games to avoid a 12th consecutive year without a trip to the postseason.
The Titans try for their fourth straight victory in the series while the Bills look to snap a season-worst four-game losing streak Sunday.
Tennessee (6-5) has gone 3-4 since a three-game winning streak Sept. 18-Oct. 2, but trails AFC South-leading Houston by only two games. The Titans are also one game out of the final wild-card spot and tied with New York and Denver.
With the Texans down to third-string rookie quarterback T.J. Yates and newly signed Jake Delhomme, the Titans are in position to make a run before a potentially critical matchup in Houston on Jan. 1 in their season finale.
"We're aware of where we are in the standings every week and what our situation is, and that's why we have to realize how important this game is for us,'' coach Mike Munchak said. "... We've got to win if we're going to have a chance to play more than 16 games.''
The Bills (5-6) had high hopes of playing at least a 17th game after opening 5-2, but the sliding club can't afford many more slip-ups if it wants to make the playoffs.
A 28-24 loss to the Jets on Sunday was Buffalo's fifth straight on the road, capping a three-game stretch away from home.
"We have to win out, and we probably have to get some help - and that's what I told the team," coach Chan Gailey said.
Buffalo's offense took a step forward last week, scoring two fewer points than it did in the previous three games combined. However, the team committed a season high-tying nine penalties while giving up 138 yards rushing on just 23 carries.
The Bills' 21st-ranked rush defense is allowing 123.8 per game, and that unit could face a tough test with Chris Johnson coming off a season-best 190-yard effort in a 23-17 victory over Tampa Bay on Sunday. The Titans ran for a season-high 202 yards.
"I read my blocks well, they blocked well," said Johnson, the AFC offensive player of the week. "... I feel like everybody executed.''
No team has executed like the Titans inside the 20-yard line, as Tennessee leads the NFL in red-zone touchdown efficiency at 70.8 percent (17 for 24). That's due in large part to Matt Hasselbeck, whose 118.8 passer rating in those situations is the best in the league among players with more than eight passing attempts.
Last Sunday, Hasselbeck threw his 12th TD inside the 20 - he has no INTs in the red zone - with a two-yard pass to Damian Williams on a fourth-and-2 with 3:01 left.
Buffalo's defense has the second-worst TD efficiency inside the 20, with opponents converting 68.3 percent (28 for 41) of the time.
With leading rusher Fred Jackson out for the season and second-year back C.J. Spiller still finding his way, the Bills may have to rely heavily on a passing game led by Ryan Fitzpatrick and receivers Stevie Johnson and David Nelson to reach the end zone.
Both caught their fifth touchdowns of the season last week, but Johnson dropped a pass on the Bills' final drive that could have gone for a significant gain and possibly a touchdown.
The Bills have been unable to control the Titans in the fourth quarter of the last two meetings, getting outscored 34-0. Tennessee scored 24 unanswered points in the final period in a 41-17 home win Nov. 15, 2009, in the last matchup.
Johnson rushed for 132 yards with two TDs in that game while catching nine passes for a career-best 100 yards.
The Titans rallied from nine down in the fourth quarter to win 30-29 in their last visit to Buffalo on Dec. 24, 2006.
Tennessee has won six of the last seven in the series, including playoffs.