Bills vs. Redskins Preview: Buffalo’s Five Key Players


Coming off a bye week to face a struggling Washington team, this Sunday’s contest in Toronto is an absolute must-win for Buffalo if the team plans on hanging around the playoff race this season. Who needs to step up the most to ensure the Bills improve to 5-2 on the season?

OL Andy Levitre – Assuming Demetrius Bell won’t be able to play, Levitre will be forced from his usual guard spot out to play left tackle. And as we talked about yesterday, that’s going to be an enormous challenge. Playing left tackle in the NFL is incredibly difficult…especially when you aren’t really built to play tackle…and double especially when you’re facing two elite pass rushers in Washington’s Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan. If Levitre can even slow those guys down, it’ll be a big boost to the offense.

RB Fred Jackson – With the pressure facing Andy Levitre and the passing attack Sunday, it’s going to be very important the Bills are able to run the ball. Jackson’s got to keep up his insanely good play from the beginning of the season and keep the chains moving. Also, the Bills will likely lean heavily on Jackson’s blocking in the passing game to help protect Ryan Fitzpatrick.

TE Scott Chandler – After a breakout beginning of the season, Buffalo’s tight end has been very quiet in recent weeks. The Bills need as many legitimate threats in the passing game as possible, and that includes getting something from the tight end. Of course, Chandler will also likely be used frequently as an extra blocker in an effort to protect and support Levitre as well.

LBs Danny Batten and Arthur Moats – Thanks to Shawne Merriman’s not-at-all-shocking trip to the injured reserve list, the Bills will need this duo to fill the role of rush linebacker. These young guns have a ton of potential, but so far in 2011 it hasn’t translated to any sacks. The Bills desperately need someone to get somewhere near the quarterback once in a while, and it will be a be a huge plus if one or both of these guys starting bringing pressure consistently.

CB Drayton Florence – The usually steady Florence was absolutely terrible in the Giants loss, getting torched by receivers and committing several penalties. The Bills already have enough problems at cornerback with Florence falling apart. This week will be key for the veteran – if he looks bad again, other teams are going to see that on film and start to really pick on him.