Win and hope: Bills focus solely on facing Raiders
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Running back Fred Jackson doesn't have the time or patience to figure out the various scenarios that ensure the Buffalo Bills staying alive in the AFC playoff picture for one more week.
Jackson's only concern is Buffalo (8-6) traveling to play Oakland (2-12) on Sunday.
''I haven't looked at it because it's all irrelevant if we don't win,'' Jackson said Wednesday. ''That's the number one thing we've got to focus on is taking care of our business.''
The Bills' playoff chances have come down to winning and hoping for a team that will be eliminated with a loss or tie.
Beating the Raiders might not be enough either. Because of tiebreaking formulas, Buffalo ranks ninth out of the conference's nine teams with eight more wins.
At 9-6, Buffalo would still be eliminated should Pittsburgh and Baltimore, both 9-5, win Sunday, and Cincinnati (9-4-1) defeats Denver on Monday night, according to STATS.
The chances of making the playoffs don't get much easier even if the Bills stay alive beyond this weekend.
They close their schedule traveling to play AFC East rival New England, where the Bills have never won since Gillette Field opened in 2002.
Difficult as it might be for the Bills to not control their own destiny, several veterans are encouraged with how a team in the midst of a 14-season playoff drought has displayed signs of rounding the corner.
Coming off last weekend's 21-13 victory over Green Bay, Buffalo assured itself of its first eight-win season since going 9-7 in 2004.
As for the playoff hunt, the last time the Bills were in contention entering Week 16 was in 2006, when they proceeded to lose their final two games en route to a 7-9 finish.
''It's meaningful, but it's not surprising,'' center Eric Wood said, referring to Buffalo being in contention. ''I felt like this was the position we'd be in. I probably wish we'd be in a more controlling position, but being in the hunt, I'm not surprised.''
The Bills are in mix largely because of a dominating defense playing at an elite level.
Buffalo leads the NFL with 49 sacks, is second with 30 takeaways and tied for second with 19 interceptions.
In a 24-17 loss at Denver two weeks ago, the Bills ended Peyton Manning's touchdown passing streak at 51 games.
The defense was even better in shutting down Aaron Rodgers and the Packers on Sunday.
Rodgers threw two interceptions and fumbled into the end zone for a safety to finish with a career-worst 34.3 passer rating.
Cornerback Corey Graham said there's too much on the line for Buffalo to look past the Raiders and rookie quarterback Derek Carr.
''You can't have a letdown when it's a must-win for you,'' Graham said. ''It's not a trap game at all.''
The defense's stoutness has made up for Buffalo's offensive deficiencies.
The Kyle Orton-led unit has scored just eight touchdowns in its past six games. Orton is coming off his worst outing since second-year starter EJ Manuel was benched following a 2-2 start.
Orton went 14 of 27 for 158 yards and an interception. With 253 yards offense, Buffalo failed to hit 300 yards for the fourth time in seven games.
''It's a weekly battle to improve consistency. That starts with me,'' Orton said. ''It's our job to score points. And we've got to do a better of job of that. That means I've got to do better.''
NOTES: RB C.J. Spiller continued practicing, but remains on the reserve/injured designated to return list eight weeks since breaking his collarbone. The Bills have until Tuesday to add Spiller to their roster or place him on season-ending injured reserve. ... TE Scott Chandler missed practice due to an illness. ... S Duke Williams missed practice because he is still being monitored for a concussion.
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