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Bills lead league with 12 interceptions

The Sports Xchange

--Buffalo leads the NFL with 12 interceptions. The team had 11 all of last year. Fueling the barrage of picks were four-interception games vs. New England's Tom Brady and Philadelphia's Michael Vick. Several of the interceptions have come from good fundamentals, tipping passes and stripping techniques. "We talked about it, we work on it, we have turnover drills for it," coach Chan Gailey said. "Fundamentals is what wins. Just like we have ball security drills on offense, that's huge." On the flip side, Buffalo has just five turnovers.

--LT Chris Hairston, a rookie fourth-round pick from Clemson, will make his second start against the Giants. Demetrius Bell is still recovering from a shoulder injury and Buffalo has its bye week coming up which will give him more time to rest and recover. Hairston turned in a strong game against the Eagles last week, helping limit the NFL's leading sack team to just one sack of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.

"He stepped in and did a good job and it was a tough test for him," Fitzpatrick said. "It's not something that I think about when I'm playing but to not really notice anything crazy happening on the left side there, I think he stepped in and did a good job."

Buffalo's line faces another tall task this week against the Giants, led by Jason Pierre-Paul (7.0 sacks), Osi Umenyiora (3.5), Dave Tollefson (3.0) and Justin Tuck (1.5). Tuck has missed three games with neck and groin injuries and his status for Sunday is undetermined.

--Buffalo's 29th-ranked run defense could be without its two top nose tackles with Kyle Williams (ankle) and Torell Troup (back) nursing injuries. Troup is listed as probable, but Williams could be a game-time decision. With Buffalo's bye week coming up, resting both players would give them extra time to heal. Options include shifting end Marcell Dareus inside and staring Kellen Heard at end, or just using the 346-pound Heard on the nose. The Giants rank just 28th in rushing the ball but can turn it loose at anytime with RB Ahmad Bradshaw.

--LB Shawne Merriman on Buffalo's 4-1 start and whether the team is earning respect around the NFL: "I don't mind flying under the radar a little bit. I've been in the opposite situation (with San Diego) before and it hasn't turned out so well. So long as we keep going out and doing the things we're doing, I'm happy."

--The Bills are 3-1 in games decided by a touchdown or less. A year ago, they went 2-6 in such games including three overtime losses. "I really believe that our guys have learned how to finish," Gailey said. "Last year we didn't know how to finish, but this year we're better at knowing how to finish. We're not there yet and we haven't arrived, but we're better at knowing how to finish a game."

--The Bills have begun informal talks with Erie County, N.Y., on a new lease at county-owned Ralph Wilson Stadium. The current 15-year lease expires in July 2013. The stadium, which underwent a major renovation in 1998, will be 40 years old when the lease is up. The stadium is in need of $75 million to $100 million in maintenance work plus upgrades to bring the facility up to modern NFL standards. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, a native of Western New York, attended last Sunday's home game against Philadelphia, met with fans and reporters, and even watched the game from the stands. He expressed confidence in the franchise's future in Buffalo.

"I have every bit of confidence that small-market teams are going to continue to be successful," Goodell said. "As long as we continue to have the proper stadiums and proper fan support, that's what we have to do. ... If we continue to keep this facility competitive with others and we continue to support the team, I'm confident that we're going to continue to be successful here in Western New York."

3 -- Games in a row Bills have returned an interception for a touchdown. The team record is four consecutive games, established in their inaugural season of 1960.

"We don't care what other teams think, we're worried about our jobs and our locker room. If we do our jobs, we're going to be a tough football team to beat, regardless of who we play." - SS George Wilson.

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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