Game Scout: Buffalo Bills @ Arizona Cardinals

The Buffalo Bills trave to Arizona to take on the Cardinals in what is their ninthth meeting, Buffalo leads 5-3. The Bills have taken the last four meetings dating back to 1986 and won 38-14 in 2004.


KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:15 ET

GAMEDATE: 10/05/08


TV: CBS (Bill Macatee, Steve Beuerlein)

SERIES: 9th meeting, Buffalo leads 5-3. The Bills have taken the last four meetings dating back to 1986 and won 38-14 in 2004.

PREDICTION: Cardinals 31-26

KEYS TO THE GAME: The Bills have staged comebacks the past three weeks, and it's not a huge surprise when you consider they have won time of possession in every game this season. The Cardinals gave up six touchdown passes last weekend, and now face an emerging passing game led by QB Trent Edwards, who is averaging 7.91 yards per attempt. Buffalo has 10 pass plays of at least 25 yards - which are big gainers Arizona must focus on eliminating. ...

QB Kurt Warner's six turnovers last weekend garnered the biggest headlines, but he's being put in long passing situations by a running game averaging just 3.2 yards per carry. Arizona knows Warner isn't mobile and that he tends to hold the ball loosely when he's scrambling. The Bills have 10 sacks and can rush the passer, so the Cardinals needs RBs Edgerrin James and Tim Hightower to step up the ground game and buy Warner more time.

KEY INJURIES: Bills: CB Terrence McGee (knee sprain) is likely out; WR Roscoe Parrish (thumb) is out at least three more weeks.

Cardinals: DE Bertrand Berry (hamstring is out; Boldin (head/neck) is not expected to play; NT Gabe Watson (kneecap) should make his season debut; SS Adrian Wilson (hamstring) is uncertain.

FAST FACTS: Since 1990, 84.9 percent of teams that started 4-0 have gone on to reach the playoffs. ... Boldin has already set a franchise record with 23 career 100-yard receiving games in just his fifth season.



--WR Lee Evans signed a four-year, $37.25 million extension that puts him under contract with the Bills through 2012. The new deal includes $18.25 million in guaranteed money. He had been due to become a free agent after the season.

--QB Trent Edwards has matched Jim Kelly's prowess for fourth-quarter comebacks with three in a row. Analysts loved how he hit Lee Evans with a 39-yard TD against the Rams to put the game away rather than nurse the clock.

--TE Robert Royal is looking for a bigger game this week against Arizona's reeling secondary, which gave up six TD passes to the Jets' Brett Favre last week. Royal had one catch for eight yards against the Rams.

--RB Fred Jackson showed his versatility by adding punt return duty to his workload last week in place of an injured Roscoe Parrish. He finished with 107 all-purpose yards.

--FB Corey McIntyre, signed this week to replace Darian Barnes, could be activated for Sunday's game at Arizona depending on how well he has picked up the team's offensive schemes and his special teams assignments. Buffalo used OG Jason Whittle as a fullback last week in St. Louis with mixed results, and McIntyre's blocking may help RB Marshawn Lynch get his first 100-yard game.

--DE Aaron Schobel, nursing a sore foot, returned to practice on a limited basis and should be fine for Sunday's game at Arizona.

--DT Marcus Stroud, nursing a sore shoulder, returned to practice on a limited basis and should be fine for Sunday's game at Arizona.

--CB Terrence McGee, who has a sprained left MCL, sat out practice for a second straight day. He's likely out for Sunday's game but a decision may not come until the weekend.



Heading into Sunday's game at Arizona, the Bills are talking about starting hot and staying hot as opposed to starting cold and warming up.

Buffalo is 4-0 thanks to three consecutive second-half comebacks against Jacksonville, Oakland and St. Louis. But they know at some point not every rally is going to be successful. Their goal, particularly on the road against a good offensive team like the Cardinals, is to avoid digging a big hole.

"We talk about consistency in play," coach Dick Jauron said. "We'd like to be a consistently performing team, but it's hard in the league. The teams are all good, every player you play against, if he's on that field, he's an outstanding performer and they make plays.

"The opponents are going to make plays. In this case, the defense is going to make some plays against us and we tell the team that. They're going to make plays, don't expect that they're not. When they do, they have to overcome it, and when they do, you have to come back and play through those things. We'd love to play a perfect game, which generally doesn't happen, as long as we don't give games away. We can stay performing at a relatively consistent level and hang in there; we'll be all right."

A more consistent running game would help Buffalo set a better tone for itself. Same goes for stopping the run. The Bills had been very good in that department but were beaten for big plays on the ground by the Rams.

On the plus side, Buffalo has shown a great ability to make halftime adjustments.

"Right now, we have great communication and a tremendous amount of trust amongst one another," wide receiver Lee Evans said. "We know what we can do and it's just a matter of executing. Early in the game I think was a great example of guys not really getting frustrated but relaxing, figuring out what it was that we needed to do and making the plays. It's just a tremendous amount of trust."

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