4:05 PM ET, October 30, 2011
Rogers Centre, Toronto, ON
The Buffalo Bills are dealing with a number of injuries on both sides of the ball, but at least a bye week has given them a chance to regroup following another loss.
The banged-up Washington Redskins don't have that luxury.
Buffalo tries to win its first regular-season game in Toronto on Sunday when it goes for its sixth consecutive victory over the Redskins.
Just one game behind AFC East-leading New England, the Bills (4-2) are in a decent spot as they head into their annual game north of the border with a winning record for the first time.
However, not everyone on the team is thrilled to be playing a "home" game in Canada, where Buffalo is 0-3 since signing a five-year, $78 million deal with Rogers Communication to play one home game in Toronto each year.
"It's not a home game," safety George Wilson said.
"The fan support in Toronto is a night-and-day difference from what we have in Buffalo (at Ralph Wilson Stadium). For the most part, it's a show. You see just as many jerseys for the opposing teams as you do the Bills. They cheer for any big play regardless of whichever team makes it."
After dropping two of three and with a roster ravaged by injuries, it's no wonder the Bills are looking for as much support as they can get.
Receiver Donald Jones (sprained ankle) won't play Sunday, and starting left tackle Demetrius Bell (shoulder) will miss a third straight game. Defensive tackle Kyle Williams (left foot) is out indefinitely, and linebacker Shawne Merriman was placed on injured reserve Tuesday with an Achilles' injury.
"If you have a team of characters, which I believe we do, I think they respond," coach Chan Gailey said. "We have to get rested up and get as many people healthy as we can and get ready to go for the next game. Nobody feels sorry for anybody in this league."
The Redskins (3-3) know exactly what the Bills are experiencing as their medical staff also remains busy.
Leading wide receiver Santana Moss is sidelined for several weeks after suffering a broken bone in his left hand in last Sunday's 33-20 loss at Carolina, while leading rusher Tim Hightower is out for the year after tearing his left ACL in that game. Tight end Chris Cooley was also placed on injured reserve this week.
Linebacker London Fletcher, who hasn't missed a game during his 14-year career, "should be able to go" despite a hamstring injury, according to coach Mike Shanahan.
"We've got a lot of young players," Shanahan said. "We're going to get a chance to see how much talent they do (have), and how quickly they can improve.
"And, hopefully, it's quick."
Anthony Armstrong or rookie Niles Paul will likely join Jabar Gaffney as the starting wide receivers, and rookie Roy Helu (131 yards) and Ryan Torain (152) will share running back duties behind quarterback John Beck, who will make his second consecutive start.
Making his first start in four seasons after losing the job to Rex Grossman in the preseason, Beck was 22 of 37 for 279 yards last Sunday with a touchdown and an interception. He also rushed for a score.
"It's hard to say (how I performed), because winning is the only thing that matters," he said. "That's the only thing I wanted to do out there. I wasn't going out there trying to be too perfect -- my ultimate goal was to walk away having won the game. This is obviously not the feeling we wanted to have."
Beck, though, showed good pocket presence and his next test will be a Bills defense that has a league-low four sacks after it failed to record one in a 27-24 road loss to the New York Giants on Oct. 16.
Buffalo surrendered 414 yards, becoming the fifth team to allow at least that many in five consecutive games.
Fitzpatrick was rewarded Friday with a six-year contract worth $59 million, including $24 million guaranteed.
He's a big reason the Bills are averaging 31.3 points and have reached 20 in six straight games for the first time since 2006.
Buffalo has a good chance of making it seven in a row as its fourth-ranked rushing attack, which averages 141.0 yards, faces a Redskins defense that's surrendered 367 rushing yards in the last two weeks -- both losses.
Jackson had 82 yards on the ground and 69 receiving the last time these teams met, a 17-16 Bills road win Dec. 2, 2007.
Buffalo's last loss to Washington came in Super Bowl XXVI on Jan. 26, 1992, by a 37-24 score.
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After breaking down film of both teams, Scouts Inc. offers 10 things to watch in this week's Redskins-Bills matchup.
1. Washington needs to pound the football: Even without the services of featured back Tim Hightower, out with knee injury, the Redskins need to shorten the game with an effective rushing attack. The Bills have been less than impressive defending the run, yielding 136 yards per game. Look for offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to continue to pound the football with Ryan Torain and rookie Roy Helu. Both average 4.9 yards per carry.
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|Avg Points Allowed||19.9||21.0|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||WSH|
|Rush Yds Allowed||WSH|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Buffalo leads 3-0|
|Dec 2, 2007||WSH 16, BUF 17|
|Oct 19, 2003||WSH 7, @BUF 24|