Everything you need to know, plus what I’ll be watching for Sunday when the Buffalo Bills host the Detroit Lions.
TV: Fox. Announcers: Joe Davis (play by play), Brady Quinn (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, 5-4-1. This is the Lions’ first regular-season appearance in Buffalo since 2010.
Bills injury report: Out: CB Ryan Lewis (concussion). Questionable: K Stephen Hauschka (hip), RB Chris Ivory (shoulder), RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring), TE Logan Thomas (hamstring). Lions injury report: Out: WR Bruce Ellington (hamstring), DE Da’Shawn Hand (knee), RB Kerryon Johnson (knee), OT Rick Wagner (concussion), S Charles Washington (hamstring). Questionable: LB Trevor Bates (ankle), RB Nick Bellore (ankle), CB Marcus Cooper (back), OT Taylor Decker (shoulder), LB Devon Kennard (hip), QB Matthew Stafford (back).
Point spread: The Bills are 2-point favorites at footballlocks.com.
Did you know? The Bills will be looking to rush for at least 165 yards for the fifth consecutive game. That would be the first time that’s happened since 1975.
Next up: The Bills wrap up the road portion of their schedule with a visit to New England at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Here are five things to watch against the Lions:
1. Is Josh Allen’s running sustainable? The temptation is to say no … but that was true last week, too. The Jets knew what kind of threat Allen was on the ground, and he still found a way to top 100 yards. Coach Sean McDermott acknowledged that it’s not ideal for Allen to be the team’s leading rusher every week. He’s taking far more hits than the team would like. The rest of the running game is really struggling, though, which puts even more importance on Allen’s running. Expect the Lions to try to keep Allen in the pocket and make him prove he can beat them with his arm.
2. Can Robert Foster top 100 yards again? The undrafted rookie has done so twice this season, the only receiver on the roster who can say that. Foster has been dynamite since rejoining the 53-man roster, and last week against the Jets was his best game with seven catches for 104 yards. He showed that he can run more than just vertical routes. Foster is one of the most important players to watch over the final three weeks. With starting jobs at wide receiver up for grabs next season, he has a big opportunity to show he deserves one.
3. Will the youth movement continue? Foster has been a big part of that, as have guard Wyatt Teller and fellow receiver Isaiah McKenzie. The Bills could decide to get even younger by plugging in rookie Ike Boettger at right guard and/or starting tight end Jason Croom over Charles Clay, who had another drop last week and could be down to his final three weeks with the team.
4. Who replaces Matt Milano? Buffalo’s best defensive playmaker is out for the season because of a broken fibula. McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier have said that it could be a rotation of players among a group that includes Julian Stanford, Deon Lacey and Corey Thompson. Of that group, Thompson is the most intriguing. The undrafted rookie is a former college safety who can match Milano in the speed department.
5. How is Stephen Hauschka? The Bills’ kicker, who has been excellent all season, is expected to play despite a right hip injury. It will be worth monitoring how Hauschka looks, though, after he was clearly impacted by the injury in the second half against New York. It’s not just field goals, either. Hauschka’s kickoffs could be impacted, and we saw last week that the Bills’ kick coverage is a mess.
Story topics: Charles Clay/ Chris Ivory/ Corey Thompson/ Deon Lacey/ Ike Boettger/ Isaiah McKenzie/ Jason Croom/ Josh Allen/ Julian Stanford/ Leslie Frazier/ Logan Thomas/ Matt Milano/ Robert Foster/ Ryan Lewis/ Sean McDermott/ Stephen Hauschka/ Wyatt Teller