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Greetings from cavernous Ralph Wilson Stadium

By Tim Graham

Rows and rows of empty seats will surround the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars this afternoon in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

The Bills are 4-7 and still harboring hopes of reaching the postseason by running the table, but a loss to the 2-9 Jaguars (coached by Bills quitter Mike Mularkey) would create even more turbulence and put Bills coach Chan Gailey's future in greater doubt.

Here is a digest of items about today's game ...

Weather report: The forecast for kickoff is 51 degrees, a 75 percent chance of light rain and winds at about 19 mph.

Matchup to watch: Running backs against the other team's run defense. Weather conditions could make passing tricky this afternoon. C.J. Spiller leads the NFL in yards per carry, and the Jaguars' defense ranks 29th against the run and 17th in average allowed.

Spiller's 6.75-yard average is third-most through 11 games (minimum 110 carries) in NFL history since 1960. Mercury Morris was at 6.79 yards in 1973, and Jim Brown was at 6.78 yards in 1963.

The Bills have the 31st run defense, although it has gotten better in recent weeks. Rashad Jennings, the injury replacement for Maurice Jones-Drew, averages just 2.8 yards a carry.

Fast fact: From Associated Press gadabout John Wawrow, the Bills have recorded fewer than 20 first downs eight times this season, matching last year's total.

The Buffalo News has you covered all day. Buffalo News columnists Jerry Sullivan and Bucky Gleason and reporters Mark Gaughan, Jay Skurski and I are in the Ralph Wilson Stadium press box.

Skurski will moderate our live chat from noon until 5 p.m. "[BN] the Huddle," our postgame webcast, will begin at 7:30 p.m. Hosted by Lauren Mariacher and me, the recap show will include reports from Orchard Park and analysis from One News Plaza staffers.

Something to consider: The Jaguars haven't scored at least 20 points in three straight games since 2010. They can do it today.

Today's game is being televised by CBS but blacked out locally. Spero Dedes will call the play-by-play with Steve Beuerlein adding color commentary. Sully's column this morning lets you know it's probably better for everyone the game won't be on local TV. "Welcome to December," Sully writes, "the annual advent of irrelevance."

Did you know? Jaguars receiver Cecil Shorts already has five touchdown receptions of at least 20 yards this season and, with five games to play, needs only one more to break the franchise record.

Bills all-time games versus the Jaguars: Travis Henry rushed for a whopping 75 yards in 2004. Drew Bledsoe threw for 314 yards in 2003. Terrell Owens had 197 receiving yards in 2009.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham | tgraham@buffnews.com


Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan | mgaughan@buffnews.com


Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski | jskurski@buffnews.com

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