It's the Bills in Seattle on Monday Night Football this week. And the Bills are in desperate need of snapping a two game losing streak—their second two game losing streak this season. Here are seven storylines for the week as the Bills get ready for the Seahawks.
1. OFF THE COUCH, INTO THE END ZONE?
The Bills have been starved for offensive playmakers for the last several weeks, with Sammy Watkins on injured reserve and LeSean McCoy missing the Patriots game.
So the Bills went back into their past to beef up the offensive roster. They signed veteran wide out Percy Harvin to a contract Tuesday, seven months after Harvin officially announced his retirement. He shut down his 2015 season after five games suffering from knee and hip injuries.
Harvin hasn't played a game in 13 months. So the question of the week—will he be available to help Buffalo's struggling offense on Monday?
"We'll see. I think I could, but that's ultimately coach's decision," Harvin told reporters Tuesday. "I got a lot of work to put in in a short period of time, so we'll see."
Bills GM Doug Whaley was asked if he would rule out having Harvin on the field in Seattle next Monday.
"Not at all," Whaley answered. "I mean again it's going to be a process that we take and it's one of those things we're going to do the best thing for him and for us long term. But if he comes out here and looks really good and we can throw him in some packages—obviously you'll have to ask coach about that—but we're not going to say no. But we're not going to say yes."
2. HOMECOMING FOR HARVIN
If Harvin does play, he'll be back in Seattle where he spent two tumultuous seasons with the Seahawks. Injuries limited him to a total of six games played there in 2013-14. And when he was traded away in midseason, to the Jets, in 2014, there were several reports of chemistry issues with his Seattle teammates.
Hall of Fame QB Warren Moon, a Seahawks radio broadcaster then and now, was quoted as saying, "Chemistry on any team is very important. I think in some ways, Percy upset that chemistry."
For his part, Harvin told the Buffalo media Tuesday that his history in Seattle has little bearing on his motivation to play Monday night.
"I'm self-motivated regardless of what team it is and who I'm playing against," he said. "I just want to be the best I can be and play at the level I know I can. So, playing a team doesn't really matter to me."
3. SIMILAR SIGNAL CALLERS?
Tyrod Taylor is slated to start his 23rd NFL game Monday night in Seattle. And if there's one quarterback Taylor has been compared to in his first season and a half as a starter, it's Seattle's Russell Wilson.
With their ability to run and extend plays with their athleticism, both Wilson and Taylor are considered part of the NFL's "New Breed" of signal callers. Wilson obviously has accomplished much more than Taylor at the early stages of their careers. But Seattle's QB has slowed down this year; nagged by a high ankle sprain, a knee injury, and a pectoral muscle injury in the last few weeks.
As a result, Wilson has only 25 rushing attempts this year and he's averaging 1.8 yards per rush, with no touchdowns. Taylor is Buffalo's second leading rusher with 319 yards on the ground and a 6.9 yards per carry average. He's run for three touchdowns.
The injury bug has limited Russell Wilson's ability to move the Seahawks through the air, also. His passer rating is 91.5 this year, slightly ahead of Taylor's 87.2 rating
4. KINGS OF THE NFC WEST?
Two years ago, the Bills were the unofficial winner of the NFC North after they beat Chicago, Detroit, Minnesota and Green Bay during the regular season.
Monday, the Bills have a chance to claim the NFC West. They've already beaten Arizona, Los Angeles and San Francisco. A win in Seattle will make it a clean sweep of the division this year.
It's the AFC that gives the Bills problems this season. They're 1-4 against AFC opposition.
5. CHEESEBURGER, CHEESEBURGER
This is only Buffalo's second visit to Century Link Field in Seattle, the Seahawks home since 2002. But the first meeting was a memorable one.
The Bills took a six-game road losing streak out west in 2004 when they first played in the venue. They got four touchdowns from Willis McGahee in a 38-9 win over the Seahawks. And some credited a change in Buffalo's road trip menu for snapping the road losing streak.
Then Coach Mike Mularkey polled several other NFL Head Coaches before the trip and asked about their charter flight menu going west. Mularkey said at least one coach, then-Eagles Coach Andy Reid, said Philadelphia fed its team cheeseburgers on the flight.
"We're very similar to everyone else in terms of travel," Mularkey told the media. "But the one difference is cheeseburgers. So we thought 'What the heck?'"
6. EARPLUGS RECOMMENDED
They're proud of their ability to make noise at Seattle's home field. They've been recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records for making the loudest din.
Bills Coach Rex Ryan is aware of it. And he's ready to get his team ready for the noise.
"You do the usual things," Ryan said this week. "We blare music and crowd noise when our offense is on the field in practice. You do everything you can. But when you get out there those fans are right on top of you. It's miserable, there's no doubt. Very similar to our crowds for an opponent coming in. Now the shoe's on the other foot."
7. ARE YOU READY?
For the second straight year, the Bills play in the Monday Night Football spotlight. They lost in New England last year 20-13 in November. That was the fifth straight loss on Monday night for Buffalo. Overall on Mondays, the Bills have won 17 times and lost 24.