Top 7 storylines for the Bills-Redskins this week

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1. STILL A PATH TO THE PLAYOFFS

It's a difficult path, but it's a path. And while the Bills chances of making the postseason may look like a holiday miracle after the loss to Philadelphia, head coach Rex Ryan says he's seen stranger things occur in the NFL.

"I've been around this game a long time and stranger things have happened," Ryan told the media Monday. "We know one thing for sure and that's we've got to win."

"We clearly have to win our three games. That's a given. We know that the Jets have to lose one of the next two and then Pittsburgh has to lose two of the next three. I know there are other scenarios, but that's pretty much it."

As Marv Levy would say, it's simple. But it's not easy.

2. WASHINGTON LIKES IT AT HOME

Washington's win in Chicago last week was their first win on the road this year. At home, they're pretty good. They've gone 5-2 at FedEx Field this season. And the Bills come in having lost their last three road games.

Buffalo started the season with two straight road wins and the Bills still have confidence away from the friendly confines of Ralph Wilson Stadium.

"We've been a tough road team this year," says DT Marcell Dareus. "I feel we play a little bit tougher on the road. We're going to be ready for them. It's tough to play teams at home in general. You've got your home fans, you've got the crowd behind you. You just have the momentum coming into the game."

3. 24 YEARS AGO THE STAKES WERE HIGH-SUPER BOWL XXVI

The most memorable meeting between these two franchises happened on a neutral field-the Metrodome in Minneapolis. That was the site of Super Bowl XXVI, when Washington beat the Bills 37-24.

Part of the NFL's commemoration of Super Bowl XL this year involved looking back at Super Bowls in the past.

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4.**DARBY GOES HOME

He's never set foot in FedEx Field, but Bills rookie Ronald Darby should feel right at home Sunday. He grew up 14 miles away, in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Darby was a football and track standout at Potomac High School in Oxon Hill, on the southeast border of the District of Columbia in Prince George's County, Maryland.

As one of the NFL's standout defensive rookies this year, Darby's homecoming is sure to be a story line for the media in the Washington area.

5. RAMBO THE REVENGE?

Bills safety Bacarri Rambo has spent plenty of time at FedEx Field. He was Washington's sixth round pick two years ago. Rambo played 13 games with two starts for Washington before being waived early last season. Since then, he's started five games for the Bills and become a solid playmaker in the Buffalo secondary.

6. BILLS FOCUSED ON POUNDING THE GROUND GAME

In a pass happy NFL, the Bills have found their niche on the ground this season. Buffalo is third in the NFL averaging 30.4 rushing attempts per game. Only Carolina and Seattle have run more often.

The Bills have the sixth best rushing attack in the NFL through 13 games. And they've produced more rushing yards than their opponents in nine games so far this year. Buffalo has won six and lost three of those nine games.

7. COACHING CONNECTIONS

There are plenty of coaching connections on both staffs this week. Rex Ryan worked with three Washington assistants back in New York: offensive line Coach Bill Callahan, quarterbacks Coach Matt Cavanaugh, and special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica.

Two other Washington assistants coached in Buffalo, including their defensive backs Coach Perry Fewell, who was Buffalo's defensive coordinator and interim head coach a few years ago. Washington's wide receivers coach Ike Hilliard coached the Bills receivers two years ago. Finally, Washington's tight ends are coached by Wesley Phillips, whose dad, Wade, served three years as the Bills head coach. Wes Phillips was a record-setting quarterback at Williamsville North High School in the late 1990s and went on to star at UTEP.

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