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

All that's left for the Buffalo Bills is the role of spoiler. A win Sunday over the New York Jets coupled with a victory by the Pittsburgh Steelers over Cleveland would keep New York out of the postseason. Kick off inside Ralph Wilson Stadium is at 1 p.m.

Bills coach Rex Ryan tried his best to downplay the personal significance of the game, but is anyone really buying that? Keeping the Jets out of the playoffs would be the perfect end to an otherwise disappointing season for the Bills' first-year coach.

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

• TV: CBS. Announcers: Ian Eagle (play by play), Dan Fouts (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, 58-51. Last meeting: Nov. 12, 22-17 Bills' win at New York. The Bills are looking for their fifth straight win against the Jets. Buffalo is also looking to win four divisional games in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1998-99.

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

• Uni watch: The Bills are going with their "smurfs" look for the season finale, pairing blue jerseys with blue pants.

• Next up: As it has been for 16 straight years now, Bills fans can start at those free-agent lists and draft guides. It's on to next year.

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

1. Tyrod Taylor, one more time. Evaluating the Buffalo Bills' starting quarterback in bad weather, against a good defense, has some value. The Bills have a huge decision looming on what to do with Taylor, and need every available piece evidence as possible to make it. One way or the other Sunday, his performance will fall in the "pro" or "con" category.

2. Mario Williams' final game. Do the Bills even play him? Does Williams try at all against the Jets? What exactly will he say after a teammate put him on blast this week? Williams' tenure with the Bills has been productive, but both sides will probably walk away from it with a bad taste in their mouth.

3. Where Ronald Darby lines up. When Stephon Gilmore was healthy, the Bills didn't need to have their cornerbacks trail a particular receiver, because they had faith in both of them. With Gilmore on injured reserve, however, it will be interesting to see if the Bills give Darby the assignment of covering New York's No. 1 receiver, Brandon Marshall, of if they trust veteran Leodis McKelvin enough to just let the two starting cornerbacks play their respective half of the field.

4. Jordan Mills vs. Muhammad Wilkerson. The Bills' journeyman right tackle has a supremely difficult matchup against Wilkerson, who is arguably the Jets' best defensive player. In the first meeting between the teams, Wilkerson registered six tackles, two sacks and three quarterback hits. He'll be a difficult assignment for Mills.

5. Dan Carpenter's extra-point adventure. Will the Bills' kicker miss his sixth extra point of the season? Carpenter is another player who could be playing his final home game for the Bills.

 

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