Pregame primer: Everything you need to know for Bills-Raiders, plus five things to watch for - The Buffalo News

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Pregame primer: Everything you need to know for Bills-Raiders, plus five things to watch for

The timing isn't good for the Buffalo Bills to meet the Oakland Raiders.

Quarterback Derek Carr and Co. are coming off a big win in Week Seven, 31-30 over Kansas City, and come in with extra rest having played on Thursday Night Football. Carr threw for more than 400 yards in the win over the Chiefs, as Oakland's high-powered offense started to find itself. The Raiders will be without running back Marshawn Lynch on Sunday after the former Bills' first-round draft pick got a one-game suspension for making contact with an official.

Here are all the details you need for Sunday's game, plus five things we'll be watching for:

• TV: CBS. Announcers: Andrew Catalon (play by play), James Lofton (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: Raiders lead, 21-17. The Bills won a thriller, 38-35, over Oakland in the Raiders' last visit to Buffalo on Sept. 18, 2011.

• Uni watch: The Bills are wearing their throwbacks Sunday, pairing white jerseys with sharp-looking white helmets that feature the red standing buffalo logo.

• Point spread: The Bills are 2.5-point favorites, according to the website footballlocks.com

• Did you know? The Bills will be looking to start 4-0 at New Era Field for the first time since the 1995 season.

• Next up: The Bills have a short week, traveling to face the New York Jets on Thursday Night Football.

Here are five things to watch against the Raiders:

1. Who starts in place of Marcell Dareus? The Bills' shocking trade of Dareus on Friday night leaves a hole in the starting lineup. The Bills have options, as Jerel Worthy, Cedric Thornton and Adolphus Washington have all seen time next to Kyle Williams. All of them, however, have been healthy inactives at some point this season. The Bills will continue to use a rotation among all four defensive tackles, but it would be a good development if one of them stepped up and grabbed the starting job.

2. Can Shareece Wright adequately replace E.J. Gaines? The only knock on Gaines so far this season has been an inability to stay healthy. He'll miss his second game of the year Sunday, this time with a hamstring injury suffered in Week Seven against Tampa Bay. Wright struggled in Gaines' absence against the Buccaneers, allowing five catches on six targets for 90 yards and a touchdown. The Raiders have a pair of stud receivers in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, so Wright will need to be at his best.

3. Was it a fluke for Deonte Thompson? A 107-yard receiving game just days after signing with the team was a pleasant surprise. The Raiders now have some film on Thompson, though, and will have an idea of how the Bills want to use him. Thompson played 21 snaps, and if he does get a bigger role, it will come at the expense of another receiver. Rookie Zay Jones could be a candidate if he continues to struggle catching the ball, or it could be former Raiders receiver Andre Holmes who sees less playing time.

4. Can the offensive line limit Khalil Mack's impact? The University at Buffalo product came alive late in the Raiders' win over the Bills last December, finishing with seven tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and fumble recovery and a pass breakup. Oakland does a good job of moving Mack around to find one-on-one pass-rushing opportunities. The Bills will have to try and limit those by using tight end Nick O'Leary and running backs LeSean McCoy and Mike Tolbert extra help in the blocking game. Taylor will also have to get the ball out of his hands quickly, because Mack can wreck an offensive game plan.

5. Can Shaq Lawson shake his slump? The Bills' 2016 first-round draft pick played a season-low 30 snaps against Tampa Bay. Coach Sean McDermott said there wasn't anything to read into that other than the team's usual rotation up front, but Lawson's impact as a pass rusher has been minimal the last couple games. It will be tough to reach Carr, who gets the ball out faster than any quarterback in football, but Lawson needs to at least make him uncomfortable.

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