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BILLS FOCUS ON DEALING CARDS A LOSS <br> PLAYERS SEEK TO PUT 1-5 START BEHIND THEM

The Buffalo Bills were preaching tunnel vision to themselves this week as they prepared for today's game against the Arizona Cardinals.

The big picture for the Bills is depressing. At 1-5, they already are five games behind first-place New England in the AFC East.

The solution to the problem? Focus on the little picture.

"We're putting the blinders on," said defensive end Chris Kelsay. "Everything that's happened in the past and everything that's going on around us, all the criticism, we're putting it behind us and focusing on Arizona."

If the one-game-at-a-time mantra is good enough for the Patriots, who have won 21 in a row, maybe it can benefit the Bills, who have won just one of their last nine.

"We don't need a big pep talk," said tackle Jonas Jennings. "We know we can't look at how our record could easily be the reciprocal of what it is. It can't get no worse. We have to crawl up out of this hole and play our butts off starting this week. We can win. Winning brings confidence. That's the only way we can look at it."

"We're staying positive," said cornerback Terrence McGee. "It's the only thing we can do. If we weren't, we might as well go home right now. We're just trying to get a second win and not worry about anything else."

The Bills better be ready for the Cardinals. Even though Arizona is 2-4, it has played tough every week.

The Cards have won two of their last three -- scoring a blowout of New Orleans and an upset of Seattle last week. In their other games, the Cards were leading St. Louis entering the fourth quarter, down by five to the Patriots entering the fourth quarter, three-point losers to Atlanta and overtime losers at San Francisco. The Cards blew a 16-point fourth-quarter lead to the Niners.

If that's not enough to get the Bills' attention, two defensive statistics are:

Arizona leads the NFL in takeaways, with 18.

The Cardinals lead the NFL in red-zone defense, holding foes to touchdowns on just 23 percent of trips inside the 20. The Bills have the worst red-zone offense in the NFL, scoring touchdowns on just 25 percent of their trips inside the 20.

"I think they're more of a physical team," said guard Chris Villarrial. "The guys are fast moving around. They don't stop. They're enthusiastic."

An improved pass rush has helped the Arizona defense, which allowed the most points in the league last year.

Arizona has four sacks apiece from defensive ends Bert Berry and Calvin Pace. Berry, a free-agent signee, had 11 1/2 for Denver last year. Nine-year veteran Ron McKinnon is an excellent middle linebacker. Four-year veteran Adrian Wilson has given them standout play at strong safety.

"We better expect the blitz," Villarrial said. "We have to be disciplined. They just came off a big win over Seattle, and they really dominated Seattle."

The Bills are second worst in the league in sacks allowed per pass play.

"When we get in the red zone against these guys, they're going to bring it," Villarrial said. "They're pretty much saying, 'Here we come, can you block us?' "

The Bills are hoping running back Willis McGahee can be an antidote to the blitz by keeping the Bills out of third-and-long situations. Today will be McGahee's second start and his first as No. 1 on the depth chart, ahead of Travis Henry. Arizona ranks 20th against the run.

Can McGahee make a difference?

"One thing Willis has done that I'm not saying was a surprise, but was something you didn't see before you actually played games, is the tough yards he's gotten," Drew Bledsoe said. "How much he's gotten after two or three guys have hit him, and he's pushed forward and gotten some key first downs."

e-mail: mgaughan@buffnews.com

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