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Pregame primer: Bills vs. Redskins (plus five things I'm looking for)

If the Buffalo Bills have any hope of making the playoffs, they must win out.

The first step comes at 1 p.m. Sunday against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.

Here are all the details you need to know before kickoff, plus five things I'll be looking for:

• TV: Fox. Announcers: Kenny Albert (play by play), Daryl Johnston (color analyst).

• Radio: Bills Radio Network. Buffalo-WGR 550 AM; Toronto-Fan 590 AM; Rochester-WCMF 96.5 FM and WROC 950 AM; Syracuse-WTKW 99.5 FM and WTKV 105.5 FM. Announcers: John Murphy (play by play), Mark Kelso (color analyst).

• Series history: Bills lead, 8-4. Last meeting: Oct. 30, 2011, 23-0 Bills win in Toronto. The Bills are looking for their seventh straight win against the Redskins.

• Milestone watch: With three passes defensed, rookie cornerback Ronald Darby will set a single-season franchise record with 24, breaking the record of 23 set in 1991 by Nate Odomes.

• Uni watch: The Bills are going all-white everything against the Redskins, pairing up white jerseys with white pants.

• Next up: The Bills' tour through the NFC East concludes when Dallas visits Ralph Wilson at 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 27.

Once Sunday's game gets started, here are five things I'll be looking for:

1. The Bills' willingness to be there. It's hard to shake the feeling this team knows its playoff hopes are nearly extinct. They talked openly this week about how this season has been a disappointment. How will they respond Sunday if Washington jumps out to an early lead, or some other adversity sets in? Buffalo's response should tell us a lot about just how much this team likes playing for head coach Rex Ryan.

2. Tyrod Taylor's pass attempts. By now you know the stat: The Bills are 6-0 when Taylor attempts less than 30 passes and 0-5 when he attempts more than that. To be a "franchise" quarterback, that simply has to change. The Bills need to be able to win games when opponents force Taylor to throw.

3. Mario Williams' production. Perhaps no other player's effort is more severely judged than that of Williams, the defensive end who could be playing out his final few games with the Bills. That's what happens when you have nearly a $20-million salary-cap hit. Williams' production, like that of the rest of the Bills' defensive line, has dropped off a cliff this year. Can he make a push these last three games to show the Bills it would be a mistake to cut him? It would have to be a heck of a push.

4. Where does Ronald Darby line up? When Stephon Gilmore was healthy, they didn't worry about matching corners on receivers, since both he and Darby were playing so well. Now with Gilmore done for the season, it will be interesting if the Bills put Darby on Washington's top receiver. That would probably be veteran DeSean Jackson, although his numbers are down this year because of a hamstring injury suffered in Week One.

5. What the Bills decide to do at tight end. Starter Charles Clay has been ruled out with a back injury, which puts the Bills in a tough spot Sunday. None of the rest of the tight ends on the Bills' roster can come close to matching Clay's ability as a blocker. Chris Gragg will likely get the start, but it's possible rookie Nick O'Leary will get a chance to make a difference in just his second career game.


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