SERIES HISTORY: 38th regular-season meeting. The Raiders lead the series, 20-17. The Raiders won the last game in Oakland, 26-24, improving to 3-12, and knocked the Bills from the playoff race. Derek Carr completed 17 of 34 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns. The Bills have not won in Oakland since 1966, when their quarterback was Jack Kemp and the Raiders' quarterback was Tom Flores.
KEYS TO THE GAME:
The most talked-about pinky finger in Raiders history was protected by a glove during practice Wednesday. It appears Derek Carr will wear a glove on his right hand against the Bills, just as he did for most of the second half of a 35-32 comeback win over the Carolina Panthers last week. Carr wore the glove during practice Wednesday, and coach Jack Del Rio even wore one in solidarity.
Carr and the Raiders are looking for a sixth consecutive win.
While the pinky injury adds yet another chapter to an outstanding year in which Carr is being mentioned as an MVP candidate, the Raiders' attention Sunday should be on defense because the Bills lead the NFL with 157.4 rushing yards per game and 5.3 yards per attempt. The Raiders' rushing defense ranks dead last at 182.5 yards per game.
If the Bills can block Raiders LB Khalil Mack, QB Tyrod Taylor should take a few shots deep to talented WR Sammy Watkins, especially with Oakland CB DJ Hayden (hamstring) out. While Carr wasn't even on Friday's injury report, listed as questionable were guard Kelechi Osemele (knee), RB Latavius Murray (ankle) and wide receiver Michael Crabtree (ankle).
Buffalo's Watkins (foot) returned to practice Thursday and coach Rex Ryan said h "looked good." He was listed as questionable Friday while WRs Percy Harvin (migraines) and Robert woods (knee) are out.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
--Raiders WR Amari Cooper vs. Bills CB Stephon Gilmore. Gilmore, in his contract year, has had an up-and-down season, but he has been on the upswing lately. In the last two games, against the Bengals and Jaguars, Gilmore has been almost unbeatable. It helped that A.J. Green got hurt for the Bengals and last week, when Ronald Darby went out, Jacksonville's Blake Bortles stayed away from Gilmore's side and went after Corey White. Still, Gilmore has been very good, and Cooper will provide a big test.
--Raiders OLB Khalil Mack vs. Bills RT Jordan Mills. Mack is coming off a monster game in Oakland's victory over Carolina; after a slow start, he has now compiled nine sacks. Mack is a terror, and the Raiders will do all they can to make sure he is matched up across from Mills, the weak link on the Bills' line. Mack may go against LT Cordy Glenn, but look for him to be on Mills' side much more often, and the Bills will have to give Mills help with either TE Charles Clay or FB Jerome Felton.
FRIDAY INJURY REPORT:
--Out: CB Ronald Darby (concussion), WR Percy Harvin (illness), WR Robert Woods (knee)
--Questionable: LB Lorenzo Alexander (ankle), S Sergio Brown (hamstring), TE Charles Clay (knee), DT Marcell Dareus (abdomen), RB Mike Gillislee (hamstring), T Cordy Glenn (back), WR Marquise Goodwin (wrist), S James Ihedigbo (ankle), G Richie Incognito (neck), G John Miller (shoulder), WR Sammy Watkins (foot)
--Out: LB Shilique Calhoun (knee), CB D.J. Hayden (hamstring), DT Darius Latham (ankle), DT Stacy McGee (ankle)
--Questionable: CB David Amerson (knee), WR Michael Crabtree (ankle), C Rodney Hudson (knee), RB Latavius Murray (ankle), G Kelechi Osemele (knee), LB Perry Riley (hamstring), LB Malcolm Smith (hamstring)
Raiders RB Jalen Richard. An undrafted free agent from Southern Mississippi, Richard won a spot with the Raiders on a tryout basis during training camp. Richard is the Raiders' second-leading rusher with 304 yards and is averaging 5.7 yards per carry. He is averaging 9.6 yards per punt return and 24.6 yards per kickoff return. He offers an explosive change of pace compared to starter Latavius Murray.
Raiders coach Jack Del Rio and Buffalo's Rex Ryan worked on the same staff from 1999 to 2001 with the Baltimore Ravens, winning a Super Bowl championship following the 2000 season.
The Bills' Tyrod Taylor leads NFL quarterbacks with 439 rushing yards. Since 2015, he is the only QB with 5,000 passing yards (5,136) and 1,000 rushing yards (1,007).
Buffalo RB LeSean McCoy had 134 scrimmage yards (103 rushing) last week. Since 2010, he leads the NFL with 7,869 rushing yards.
Buffalo CB Stephon Gilmore is tied for fourth in the NFL with four interceptions.
Raiders QB Derek Carr aims for a third consecutive game with a 100 passer rating.
Oakland WR Michael Crabtree led the team with eight catches for 110 yards last week.
Since 2015, Raiders WR Amari Cooper is one of eight NFL players with 130 catches with more than 14 yards per catch (14.4).
Raiders LB Khalil Mack is one of two players since 2000 to record an interception for a TD, a sack, a forced fumble and a recovery in a game. He has nine sacks, 10 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, two recoveries and a pick-six in the past eight games.
This is a game in which Bills coach Rex Ryan will try his ground-and-pound running attack against the Raiders' generous defense. The key will be not only to score but to keep the ball away from Raiders QB Derek Carr, whose fourth-quarter comebacks have become a weekly sideshow.
OUR PICK: Raiders, 28-24.