Thursday, August 21, 2014

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Importance of Indianapolis

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We're at a point in the Bills season where every week may be a must win game, and that is especially true as the Bills face the Colts on Sunday. At 4-6, of course, the Bills have a lot of ground to make up. And there's no better place to start than at the top, as they face a Colts team who is leading the Wild Card race.

"We're playing for our playoff lives right now," said Ryan Fitzpatrick. "We can't really expect to go out there, not win this game, and still have a realistic shot at it."

"I think we know that it's do or die for the most part," added Stevie Johnson. "We've got some pressure on us. We should be able to handle it well, and go into Indianapolis and take care of business."

Naturally, perhaps the Bills biggest challenge on Sunday is going up against Andrew Luck. He's a rookie quarterback, who at times has looked like an absolute seasoned veteran.

"I think after the third game, you're not a rookie anymore," noted Mario Williams. "He's had enough experience, enough play time, enough snaps, enough big games, enough wins to validate that he's not a rookie anymore."

But if you want to evaluate him as a rookie, know that he's further along than Peyton Manning was at this point. Ten games in, Luck has 2,965 yards. He has a 77.2 rating. Manning finished his rookie season with 3,739 yards and a 71.2 rating. Additionally, with a 6-4 record so far, Luck is just two wins away from the rookie record.

"I think his mentality, and just the way that you already see guys looking up to him as a leader an following him, he's got the right demeanor," said Fitzpatrick. "That's the type of stuff, when I'm looking at a quarterback, that's impressive to me. "

On the offensive side, the Bills expect to have their running back rotation back in full force on Sunday. A week after C.J. Spiller had an increased workload with 22 carries, Fred Jackson was back on the practice field Wednesday. He says he's fully recovered from his concussion.

"They did everything they had to to get me cleared," Jackson said. "Following protocol, I think that's more important than anything. Following the protocol to make sure I'm fine and I can get out there and play."

Chan Gailey said that Spiller will start, but Jackson will see plenty of carries.

"It's great to have him back out there," Spiller said of Jackson's return. "It's always great when we can have our full force, all of our hands on deck going into these crucial games that we need."

A game they need indeed. The Colts lead the Bills by two full games atop the Wild Card standings.

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