Oakland Raiders vs Buffalo Bills: Raiders aim to stay atop the AFC West

Oakland Raiders vs Buffalo Bills: Raiders aim to stay atop the AFC West

The Bills hope to keep their wildcard hopes alive with a tough road test in Oakland.

HarryHarris8
Harry Harris

The 9-2 Oakland Raiders are sitting in first place in the AFC West and will hope to move closer to a first round bye in the playoffs this week but first, they welcome a tough 6-5 Buffalo Bills team who are still looking to grab a wildcard spot in the AFC.

Oakland's two losses have both come at home this season but a slip up could see them lose ground in the AFC West, with the Kansas City Chiefs just a game back.

Injury Report

Oakland Raiders: The Raiders have struggled against the pass this season and could be without two of the top three corners on Sunday. DJ Hayden is expected to be placed on IR with a hamstring injury while David Amerson is questionable with a knee injury. 

Derek Carr recovered from a dislocated pinky suffered in last week's victory over the Carolina Panthers and will start, while Latavius Murray is questionable but is expected to play through ankle soreness.

Wide receiver Michael Crabtree, offensive lineman Rodney Hudson and Kelechi Osemele, and linebacker Perry Riley were all limited in practice this week but are expected to play. 

Buffalo Bills: Rex Ryan will have to make do without Ronald Darby on Sunday as the corner has been ruled out with a concussion. Wide receivers Percy Harvin and Robert Woods will also miss out due to illness and a knee injury.

Key defensive players Lorenzo Alexander (10 sacks) and Marcell Dareus are questionable while tight end Charles Clay is questionable as he is expected to welcome the birth of his child.

OG Richie Incognito is questionable with a neck injury while wide receivers Sammy Watkins (foot) and Marquise Goodwin (wrist) are also questionable for the meeting with Oakland.

Background

The Bills are currently 6-5 and are on the outside looking in when it comes to the AFC Wildcard. They sit just one game behind the Miami Dolphins, who currently hold the sixth seed.

The Raiders have a one game lead in the AFC West and must keep winning as the the best division in football will go down to the wire. Also aiming for home field advantage and possibly even the number one seed, every game has become a must win.

Derek Carr and Latavius Murray celebrate a touchdown during their win over the Carolina Panthers in Week 12. (Source:
Derek Carr and Latavius Murray celebrate a touchdown during their win over the Carolina Panthers in Week 12. (Source: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The last time these two teams met, the Raiders held on for a 26-24 victory in Oakland. The Raiders also lead the all time series 20-17.

What to Watch For

The Bills bring their top 10 pass defense to Oakland in an attempt to halt MVP candidate Derek Carr and the NFL's fourth ranked offense. The matchup to watch is second year receiver Amari Cooper facing off against standout corner back Stephon Gilmore. Cooper's 922 yards this season put him sixth amongst receivers while Gilmore is fourth in the NFL in interceptions, with four.

LeSean McCoy, who boasts 819 yards and 9 TDs this season, and quarterback Tyrod Taylor, will look to exploit a Raiders defense ranking 26th against the run this season. If McCoy can set the early tempo, the Bills could then find success through the air with Taylor likely to target Sammy Watkins often.

The Raiders offensive line have been dominant this season and have managed to keep Derek Carr protected well through 12 weeks so far. If Marcell Dareus and Lorenzo Alexander play, the Raiders will have their hands full and must be prepared.

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