National Football League
Preview
San Diego at Buffalo
When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, September 21, 2014
Where: Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

The Buffalo Bills are in the unfamiliar position of leading the AFC East after a pair of impressive performances. The San Diego Chargers, who visit the Bills on Sunday, are coming off a win over the defending Super Bowl champions and enter the weekend with expectations soaring. The Chargers figured out how to throw against the Seattle Seahawks' secondary and will attempt to do the same against a Buffalo defense holding opponents to 15 points.

San Diego devised a game plan that put tight end Antonio Gates to work against the Seattle secondary, and the veteran ended up with three touchdowns in the 30-21 triumph. Gates and quarterback Philip Rivers could be getting heavy work again as the Bills' run defense is yielding an average of 83 yards and Chargers top back Ryan Mathews (sprained right MCL) is expected to miss at least a month. Buffalo has excelled on special team behind kicker Dan Carpenter and running back/returner C.J. Spiller, who returned a kickoff 102 yards last week to crush Miami’s momentum in a 29-10 win.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Bills -2.5. O/U: 45.5

ABOUT THE CHARGERS (1-1): San Diego dropped an 18-17 heartbreaker at Arizona in its opener but came out looking like a different offensive team against the Seahawks with quick passes underneath and throws to Gates in the red zone. “All three touchdown catches, for the most part, didn’t come exactly like they were drawn up,” Rivers told reporters. “They were a little bit backyard. We ended up close to the spots we were trying to do, but just a little bit different.” The Chargers are looking for their first road win after squandering a 17-6 second-half lead in the loss to the Cardinals.

ABOUT THE BILLS (2-0): Buffalo’s offense has not needed to do much thanks to the defense and special teams, but EJ Manuel is occasionally showing how effective he can be when healthy and with a full complement of weapons. Manuel and rookie receiver Sammy Watkins have developed an instant chemistry, and Watkins’ 11 catches and 148 yards leads all rookies. Spiller, who also broke off a 47-yard TD run last week, and Fred Jackson are a dynamic pair in the backfield but were not on the field at the same time at all in Week 2 after a package involving both was used in the Week 1 win over Chicago.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Rivers needs one TD passes to tie his own team record of 23 straight games with at least one.

2. Buffalo WR Robert Woods injured his ankle in practice on Wednesday and is questionable for Sunday.

3. Gates (90) needs one TD catch to move into a tie with Isaac Bruce for 10th on the NFL’s all-time list.

PREDICTION: Chargers 24, Bills 21
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf OT Div Conf
San Diego 1-1 W1 23.5 19.5 1-0 0-1 1-1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0
Buffalo 2-0 W2 26.0 15.0 1-0 1-0 1-0 1-0 1-0 1-0 1-0
Last Meeting
San Diego Buffalo
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
12/11/11 BUF 10 SD 37 366 150 216 281 96 185
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
San Diego P. Rivers 72.7 240 3 0
Buffalo R. Fitzpatrick 38.2 176 0 2
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
San Diego R. Mathews 20 114 5.7 0
Buffalo C. Spiller 12 46 3.8 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
San Diego A. Gates 7 68 9.7 2
Buffalo S. Johnson 4 116 29.0 0
Touchdowns Player TD
San Diego A. Gates 2
Buffalo B. Scott 1
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
San Diego P. Rivers 67.1 522 4 1
Buffalo E. Manuel 66.7 375 2 1
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
San Diego R. Mathews 23 71 3.1 1
Buffalo C. Spiller 27 122 4.5 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
San Diego A. Gates 13 177 13.6 3
Buffalo S. Watkins 11 148 13.5 1
Touchdowns Player TD
San Diego A. Gates 3
Buffalo C. Spiller 2