Indianapolis Star
National Football League
Preview
Detroit at Buffalo
When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, December 16, 2018
Where: New Era Field, Orchard Park, New York

The Detroit Lions' playoff chances are minuscule, but they are technically still alive and looking to remain a factor with a win Sunday at the Buffalo Bills. A 17-3 victory at Arizona last weekend kept the Lions mathematically in the hunt and a stretch run with three games against teams at .500 or worse gives them an opportunity to finish strong and hope for help -- lots of it -- elsewhere.

"We've got to win out," veteran safety Glover Quin told the Detroit Free Press. "We've got to go in, prepare and get ready to beat Buffalo and we get that done, we'll move on to the next one. But none of those scenarios, none of that stuff matters if we don't take care of our business." That task would become much more difficult without starting quarterback Matthew Stafford, who has been limited in practice due to a back issue after throwing for a season-low 101 yards against the Cardinals. The Bills are coming off back-to-back four-point losses that have dashed what were already slim playoff hopes in the AFC. They'll continue to try to foster the growth of rookie quarterback Josh Allen, who has thrown for 597 yards and run for 335 -- the most ever by a quarterback in a three-game span -- since returning from a sprained elbow.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Bills -2. O/U: 39.5

ABOUT THE LIONS (5-8): The defense shined while Stafford and company struggled to produce a season-low 218 total yards at Arizona, with Darius Slay's 67-yard interception return for a touchdown the game's biggest play -- and players on that side of the ball know their top goal this week is to contain Allen. "We prepared well and I think the guys have done a good job on that," linebackers coach Al Golden told reporters of recent improvements. "Now having said that, I think Buffalo and Allen might be our greatest challenge this year. The young man is doing an unbelievable job of moving the football for Buffalo." Detroit's run defense has allowed 71.6 yards per game over the last five contests, which would rank first in the NFL if spread over the full season.

ABOUT THE BILLS (4-9): Allen has completed only 50 percent of his passes and has four interceptions over his last three games, but the team likes what it sees in the 22-year-old's decision-making. "I think, for the most part, he's been on time with it," coach Sean McDermott told reporters of Allen opting to scramble. "He's letting routes develop. If there's separation, great, if there isn't, then he's got to do something with the ball to create a play for us." Allen has developed some chemistry with fellow rookie Robert Foster, who has at least 94 receiving yards in three of his last four games after hauling in seven catches for 104 yards in last Sunday's 27-23 loss to the New York Jets.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Buffalo RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring), who was limited to nine snaps and gained one yard last week, is listed as questionable for this one.

2. Lions DT Ezekiel Ansah (shoulder), whose 48 career sacks rank fourth in franchise history, was placed on injured reserve.

3. The Bills have won four of the last five meetings, all by single digits.

PREDICTION: Lions 21, Bills 19
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf OT Div Conf
Detroit 5-8 W1 20.8 24.5 3-4 2-4 2-2 0-0 - - 3-7
Buffalo 4-9 L2 15.5 24.6 2-4 2-5 0-2 2-4 - - 3-7
Last Meeting
Detroit Buffalo
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
8/31/17 DET 17 BUF 27 317 100 217 327 205 122
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Detroit J. Abbrederis 0.0 0 0 0
Buffalo T. Adams 0.0 0 0 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Detroit J. Abbrederis 0 0 0.0 0
Buffalo T. Adams 0 0 0.0 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Detroit J. Abbrederis 0 0 0.0 0
Buffalo T. Adams 0 0 0.0 0
Touchdowns Player TD
Detroit J. Abbrederis 0
Buffalo T. Adams 0
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Detroit M. Stafford 66.5 3187 18 11
Buffalo J. Allen 52.4 1429 5 9
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Detroit K. Johnson 118 641 5.4 3
Buffalo J. Allen 66 490 7.4 5
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Detroit K. Golladay 57 859 15.1 5
Buffalo Z. Jones 44 481 10.9 4
Touchdowns Player TD
Detroit L. Blount 5
Buffalo J. Allen 5