The Week Ahead

The San Diego Chargers (8-4) face the Buffalo Bills (6-7) in Buffalo this Sunday. The Chargers look to get back on a winning track after losing last week against Oakland. Gametime is 10 AM PST at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Last Week

The Bills lost to the New England Patriots last week by a score of 27-17. It was the second time the Drew Bledsoe led team lost to the Patriots as the return of Bledsoe did not go very well. Bledsoe lost his starting job to Tom Brady last year as the Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl and promptly traded Bledsoe to Buffalo.

Bledsoe threw four interceptions in the game and the Bills had five turnovers total in the game. The turnovers turned into 17 New England points. Eric Moulds caught two touchdown passes in the defeat.

The Chargers lost at home to the Raiders 27-7. They were dominated on both sides of the ball and Drew Brees threw a career high three interceptions. The turnovers turned into 10 points for Oakland. Rich Gannon passed the 300-yard mark for a record setting 10th time this season and the Raiders had three rushing touchdowns in their win.

The Skinny

There is still bad blood between these teams as General Manager John Butler prepares his team for yet another battle with his former team. Butler continues to bring some of his former Buffalo players to San Diego, the latest being defensive tackle Shawn Price.

Last year the Chargers pulled out a come-from-behind 27-24 win over the Buffalo Bills in Qualcomm Stadium on a Doug Flutie 13-yard scramble for a touchdown with 1:10 left in the game. Now the game shifts to the cold weather of Buffalo.

The Chargers must force more pressure on Bledsoe than they did on Gannon. The Bills passing game is just as explosive as the Raiders if not more with the explosive threats of Moulds and Peerless Price, 81 receptions apiece, coupled with rookie Josh Reed. Travis Henry has also established a solid running game having gained 1,168 yards on the year.

The Chargers must develop their own passing game. The status of Curtis Conway is still a mystery as the Chargers hold the nature of his injury a secret. Eric Parker has stepped up in the absence of Conway but Brees has not looked the same throwing zero touchdowns since Conway went out with injury.

Keys to the game

1. Handle the cold. For the first time this year the Chargers will brave the cold weather. They are used to the paradise that is San Diego and not the blistering winds that can change the face of a game in Buffalo. They must mentally prepare for this.

2. Avoid a shootout. The Chargers cannot win a shootout against this team. Instead they must get on top early or face a potential blow out.

3. Special Teams. The Bills are not a great team in the return game. The Chargers must win this battle for once.

4. Force turnovers. Henry has fumbled five times on the year and Bledsoe has been intercepted 13 times. Winning the turnover battle is always beneficial and more so against teams that can score at will.

5. Throw deep. The Chargers cannot be afraid to take some chances. The Bills let up a lot of points on the season and going deep will take some heat off LaDainian Tomlinson.

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