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AGAINST COLTS, BILLS' 'D' NEEDS HELP FROM 'O'

The Buffalo Bills' retooled defense will be under siege by the Indianapolis Colts' explosive offense today at the RCA Dome.

The Colts looked in midseason form en route to a 45-24 rout of the New York Jets two weeks ago. Led by the running of Edgerrin James and precision passing of quarterback Peyton Manning, the Colts put up the most points in the NFL in the season opener.

The defense and special teams also had a hand in the onslaught, each contributing a touchdown.

The Bills' first goal is stopping James, which is complicated by the fact the Colts can beat you with Manning throwing the ball to a corps of receivers headed by wide receiver Marvin Harrison.

Last year, Manning and James became only the second teammates in NFL history -- the first in more than a half-century -- to lead the league in passing and rushing. The Bills also must be wary of the no-huddle attack sometimes employed by the Colts.

The Bills' task on defense is a lot tougher now that Pro Bowl middle linebacker Sam Cowart is likely sidelined for the year with a partially torn right Achilles tendon. Cowart is the sixth starter gone from a defense that ranked third in the NFL last year.

There is plenty of pressure on the defense and it would not be realistic to expect the Bills to shut down the Colts.

That's why the talk all week has been on the Bills' offense being more productive than it was in the opener. Rookie RB Travis Henry has the potential to give the Bills a legitimate rushing attack, but his effectiveness will be determined by their ability to stay in the game.

If the game is close and Henry is able to do some damage, it will be a big help to quarterback Rob Johnson, who needs to bounce back from his sub-par performance against the Saints.

The Bills will have plenty of incentive today. They dropped both games to the Colts last season for the first time since 1994. One of those losses was a 44-20 pasting on Monday Night Football.

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