Falcons vs. Bills 2013 game preview: Buffalo tries to get back in playoff picture in Toronto

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The Bills are hoping to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, while the Falcons are just playing for pride. Here's everything you need to know about the game.

The Buffalo Bills will travel to Toronto to take on the Atlanta Falcons in their annual Canadian game on Sunday. There isn't much at stake here with both teams sporting losing records, but Buffalo needs a win to keep its slim playoff hopes alive. The Falcons are just playing out the string and hoping to end a disappointing season on a positive note.

Meet the Buffalo Bills

The Bills are 4-7 coming off their Week 12 bye. Despite the losing record, they're just one game behind in the wild card race. There's a logjam of teams with 5-6 records ahead of them, though, and they need a win over Atlanta to keep pace.

Buffalo's biggest area of strength is its defense. The Bills smothered the New York Jets in their last game, 37-14, sacking Geno Smith four times and getting three interceptions. That defense will be a problem for the Falcons, who are missing key offensive players.

Meet the Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta is reduced to playing for pride after starting the season with Super Bowl aspirations. The 2-9 Falcons have lost five in a row and are officially out of the playoff race. Their latest loss came to the New Orleans Saints, where the defense actually managed to hold Drew Brees' offense to 17 points. Atlanta was unable to capitalize on its offensive side, though. The seat is starting to get warm for Mike Smith, who has his first losing season at the helm for the Falcons.

Local Takes: Buffalo Bills

Brian Galliford from Buffalo Rumblings takes a look back at the Bills' history of playing in Toronto.

The Bills have played some brutal football in Toronto. They didn't crack 200 yards of offense in either of their first two games, and gave up 466 yards defensively to Seattle last season. Turnovers have been a more consistent problem at the Rogers Centre; the team has not yet committed fewer than two turnovers in a game at Toronto, and has a minus-9 turnover differential in that stadium.

Atlanta comes into this contest beat up and, at 2-9, have officially been eliminated from NFC playoff contention. This is a game that the Bills must win if they fancy themselves an up-and-coming organization, let alone want to make the playoffs. If they can finally put together a memorable performance in Toronto, ending a streak of dreary or forgettable play, that would be lovely, as well.

Local Takes: Atlanta Falcons

Dave Choate from The Falcoholic believes that the Bills' pass rush will be a nightmare matchup for the Falcons.

While the Buffalo Bills tilt in Toronto looks like one of the last winnable games of the season, I can't in good conscience say I expect that to happen.

That's largely because of a dominant Buffalo Bills line. The Bills have two defensive tackles who have seven sacks on the season in Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams, for one thing. They also have Mario Williams at defensive end. When you consider that the Falcons have been sending a human turnstile out there at right guard and have no one approaching a great lineman anywhere on the line, this has the potential to be an ugly game for these Falcons.

Follow the Fun

Be sure to check out SB Nation's team blogs, Buffalo Rumblings and The Falcoholic, for more analysis and highlights from the game.

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Five out of six experts on SB Nation's panel predict the Bills to win.


The Bills are favored by three points, according to Oddsshark.

Next Week

Buffalo at Tampa Bay
Atlanta at Green Bay

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