If the Buffalo Bills are going to hit the ground running out of their bye week and make a push for the final wild card spot in the AFC playoff race, they'll first need to exorcise their demons playing north of the border.
Sunday's Week 13 tilt with the Atlanta Falcons will mark the sixth time that the Bills have "hosted" a team at the Rogers Centre in Toronto for a regular season game. In the five games previous, the Bills are 1-4 in their proverbial home away from home.
Buffalo's lone win in Toronto came in 2011, when they blanked Mike Shanahan and the Washington Redskins 23-0 to improve to 5-2 that season. (They went 1-8 down the stretch.) They lost consecutive games to the Miami Dolphins, New York Jets and Chicago Bears between 2008-10 before the win over Washington, but then endured their worst performance in Toronto a year ago in a 50-17 drubbing at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks.
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.