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Place: University of Phoenix Stadium, Phoenix, Arizona
The magic ran out for the Arizona Cardinals when they suffered their first loss of the season last week, but they have a prime opportunity to get back on track when the struggling Buffalo Bills visit the desert Sunday afternoon.
The Cardinals rode an opportunistic defense and a good bit of luck to a 4-0 start before last week’s 17-3 loss at St. Louis. They’ll try to rebound and preserve at least a share of the NFC West lead against a Bills team that allowed San Francisco a franchise-record 621 total yards in last week’s 45-3 loss.
The Bills’ defense has been their downfall – they’ve allowed 145 points in their three losses and 31 in their two victories – but the offense was nearly as dismal against the 49ers in managing just 204 total yards.
Buffalo is far from being out of the playoff picture and is just a game back in the tight AFC East standings. The Bills have won four of the past five meetings, but Arizona won the most recent contest 41-17 at home in 2008.
Buffalo Bills (2-3): Buffalo has shown flashes of brilliance on offense – quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is tied for the AFC lead with 12 touchdown passes and C.J. Spiller has been electric out of the backfield – but they’ve also committed 13 turnovers.
And the defense has been dreadful, ranking 31st in the league in total yards and scoring. High-priced free agent defensive end Mario Williams has been a major bust with just 11 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks through five games.
Arizona Cardinals (4-1): Arizona’s offense has yet to break the 300-yard barrier this season but still managed at least 20 points in each of the first four games.
That ended against the Rams, as the Cardinals managed just 282 total yards and were limited to a field goal. The Cards could have a quarterback controversy brewing when John Skelton comes back from his ankle injury. The defense has been strong, forcing 11 turnovers.
1. The Cardinals have won eight straight at home, the second-longest streak in franchise history. They won nine straight in 1925.
2. Bills RB Fred Jackson needs 133 rushing yards to join Thurman Thomas (11,938), O.J. Simpson (10,183) and Joe Cribbs (4,445) as the only Bills players to reach 4,000. Jackson also needs two receptions to pass Cribbs (180) for second among Buffalo running backs behind Thomas (456).
3. Arizona WR Larry Fitzgerald needs 48 receiving yards to become the second-youngest player in NFL history with 10,000 career receiving yards. He has a reception in 122 consecutive games, the longest streak in franchise history.