INDIANAPOLIS – The Buffalo Bills are one of five AFC teams sitting at 4-6, just two games out of the final AFC Wild Card spot.
Buffalo ended a three-game losing streak last Thursday when the Bills defeated the Miami Dolphins at home, 19-14.
The Bills have a favorable schedule the rest of the way with four home games, but they will hit the road and travel to Indianapolis for just the second time since divisional realignment occurred following the 2001 season.
Running back C.J. Spiller is beginning to show the consistent threat that made him such a hot commodity out of Clemson University in 2010.
Spiller leads the team with 723 yards rushing and four touchdowns, and he also has caught 31 passes for 336 yards and one touchdown this year.
Fellow running backs Fred Jackson (75 rushes, 298 yards, three touchdowns) and Tashard Choice (40 rushes, 159 yards) have been multiple threats for a rushing attack ranks seventh in the NFL.
Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has a wide range of targets in the passing game, with wide receiver Stevie Johnson leading the team with 47 receptions for 581 yards. Fitzpatrick has connected with Johnson on four of his 17 scoring passes.
Johnson is coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons, an achievement that set a franchise record.
Tight end Scott Chandler is a frequent red-zone target for Fitzpatrick. Chandler leads the team with five touchdown receptions.
Buffalo made a strong push this offseason with the free agent signing of defensive end Mario Williams. Williams, the former No. 1 overall pick of Houston, has produced with 5.5 sacks.
The Bills’ return game has produced three touchdowns. Punt returner Leodis McKelvin (two touchdowns) and kick returner Brad Smith (one touchdown) have taken kicks the distance in 2012. Buffalo will provide another key threat to Indianapolis. The Colts allowed a scoring punt return at New England last Sunday, plus another one that nearly was 50 yards long.
After winning four games in Chan Gailey’s first season as head coach, Buffalo saw a two-win improvement last year and is on the trend to continue that again this season.
2012 Record: 4-6, Tied for 2nd in the AFC East.
Head Coach: Chan Gailey, third season as Bills head coach and fifth NFL season as head coach (32-44 overall).
2012 NFL Rankings: Offense – Overall, 16th (350.9); Rushing, 7th (140.8); Passing, 23rd (210.1) Defense – Overall, 27th (387.4); Rushing, 31st (153.3); Passing, 18th (234.1).
2012 Leading Passer: Ryan Fitzpatrick (202-323 comp., 2,179 yards, 62.5 pct., 17 TDs, 10 INTs, 87.0 rating).
2012 Leading Rusher: C.J. Spiller (109 carries, 723 yards, 4 TDs).
2012 Leading Receiver: Stevie Johnson (47 receptions, 581 yards, 4 TDs).
2012 Leading Sacker: Mario Williams (5.5).
2012 Turnover Breakdown: -7 (tied for 26th).
2012 NFL Draft Results: The Bills addressed the defensive side of the ball by selecting cornerback Stephon Gilmore with the 10th overall pick in April’s Draft. Gilmore has started all 10 games this season. In the second round, the Bills chose versatile offensive lineman Cordy Glenn. Glenn has started seven games at left tackle. Buffalo selected wide receiver T.J. Graham early in the third round, and the speedster has started the last seven games. Fourth-round pick Nigel Bradham has started the last five games at outside linebacker.
2011 Review: In Chan Gailey’s second season as the Bills’ head coach, Buffalo improved by two wins and finished with a 6-10 record. The Bills came out strongly, winning five of their first seven games. Buffalo was 5-2 heading into the final two months of the season, but a seven-game losing streak ended a chance to snap a playoff drought dating back to 1999. The season was highlighted by a pair of 18 -point comebacks early in 2012, including ending a 15-game losing streak to the New England Patriots. Wide receiver Stevie Johnson set a franchise record with two consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons.
Last time in Playoffs: 1999. Lost, 22-16, to the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Wild Card.
Last time in Super Bowl: 1993. Lost Super Bowl XXVIII to the Cowboys, 30-13.
Super Bowl Championships: None.
2011 Pro Bowl Selections: None.