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Bills refuse to accept fate of Lions Add to ...

The 2008 Detroit Lions, whose place as one of the worst teams in NFL history was assured when they went 0-16, lost by an average of 15.6 points a game during that lamentable season.

Nobody's ready to slot the Buffalo Bills into that decrepit category. Not yet.

But after an 0-7 start to the current NFL campaign, losing by an average of 11.4 points a game, the Bills are heading down the same road the Lions stumbled on just two years ago.

"If I said I'm fine, I'm not fine," Buffalo coach Chan Gailey said this week when asked how he is handling the repeated failures. "You deal with what the situation is. You stay strong. If you start to wilt and fade, well, guess what? The team will start to wilt and fade.

"You've got to press on every day and work just as hard as if you were 7-0."

The Bills, off to the third-worst start in franchise history, will get their next opportunity to break into the win column on Sunday when they play the Chicago Bears in Toronto at Rogers Centre.

It will be the fifth game (third in the regular season) that Buffalo plays north of the border since 2008, when Buffalo started the Bills Toronto Series in an attempt to broaden its marketing appeal.

The Bills have dropped both regular-season games to have been played in Toronto and it remains to be seen what appeal a winless team will have in an outside market.

"If you go up there [to Toronto]and just lay an egg every time, it's tough for fans to get excited," said Chris Kelsay, a Buffalo linebacker and captain of the defence.

While the Bills, who have lost their last two contests in overtime on the road, would much rather be trying to end their losing skid at home at Ralph Wilson Stadium, the players are confident they will glean some home-field advantage from Toronto.

"I think [the atmosphere]has gotten a lot better than the first time we were up there," Buffalo wide receiver Lee Evans said. "I think it's starting to feel much more like a home-field environment. Obviously it's not this stadium here."

The odds appear long for Buffalo to end its losing streak against a 4-3 Bears outfit that is half a game behind the Green Bay Packers (5-3) for first place in the National Football Conference North.

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has been sacked 27 times this season, most in the NFL. But when left to his own means, Cutler can pick defences apart with his arm. He ranks second in the NFL with 8.2 yards a passing play, and his 60.2-per-cent pass-completion rate is also second in the league.

But the Bills aren't the quarterback-harrying type, with only 11 sacks on the season, good for 25th in the league.

And the Bills aren't defensive ball hawks, with just one interception on the season, by a linebacker. Last season they had the second most interceptions in the NFL with 28.

"We need turnovers whatever way they come, whether they're fumbles, turnovers on downs or interceptions," Buffalo free safety George Wilson said. "We need turnovers on defence so we can continue to try to give our offence the best field position possible."

The Buffalo defence has struggled in other ways, surrendering an average of 384.3 yards a game. Buffalo has also given up an average of 30.1 points a game, third highest in the NFL.

 

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