Monday, December 22, 2014

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Battle of Lake Erie

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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - Since the Browns logo returned to Cleveland in 1999, the battle of Lake Erie has has built a bit of a rivalry between the Bills and Browns.

"This is the old school Cleveland Browns," said linebacker Kelvin Sheppard. "They like to get after you. They are a very hard nosed football team. . .It is going to be a very physical football game."

The Bills were back on the practice field Wednesday to begin installing the gameplan. It's an important week for the Bills. After this, things get pretty difficult, with a home matchup against the Patriots followed by a two week west coast trip.

The big news of the day is that Jairus Byrd suffered a setback and was not on the practice field. Chan Gailey hopes to get him back to work later in the week. Ruvell Martin is the only other new injury at this point. The Bills also remain without Marcell Dareus, who's expected to return later in the week.

Right now, the focus is on winning a road game. The Bills have dropped their previous eight, dating back to the 2011 season opener.

"The most hostile environment we played all year was Kansas City last year on 9/11," said Eric Wood. "We smoked them. Then we kind of fell apart in some less hostile environments. I don't have a definitive answer, but we've definitely got to turn it around."

"If I knew the reason, I'd solve the problem," added Chan Gailey. "We haven't played well on the road. I don't have an answer to that one."

Sunday's game could be a showdown between running backs. C.J. Spiller enters as the NFL's leading rusher, going up against Trent Richardson, who also topped 100 yards last week.

"I am more decisive. I am more North-South than of an East-and-West (runner)," said Spiller, noting his improvements since last season. "If I have to bounce it, I will. But I try to get up the field more quickly than I did in the past."

Stopping Richardson is the top priority for the Bills defense.

"We're going to have to gang tackle and get him on the ground," said Chris Kelsay. "He showed that he can be a good running back, so we have to work it out for us."

Offensively, the Bills line - which has been near perfect against the pass this year - faces a real tough test against a Browns pass rush that had 32 sacks last year and has continued that success with eight this year.

"They are feisty up front," said Ryan Fitzpatrick. "They are fast. They do a lot of different things, a lot of different movement and they are very good one on one pass rushers."

"We've got a pretty talented group coming in," added Wood. "They play hard. It kind of sticks out on film how hard they play. It will be a challenge for us."

Fred Jackson was back on the practice field Wednesday. He took part in stretching drills with teammates, did limited work with the training staff, and then left the field to receive treatment. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP