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Raiders 2016 pre-camp season preview: Week 13 vs Buffalo Bills

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The Bills shuffle into Oakland as the regular season heads into it’s final full month.

To lead out December, the Raiders welcome the Ryan Brothers and the Buffalo Bills. Far preferable to being in Buffalo in December. This is the second of back-to-back home games in Oakland before they head on the road again.

Bills 2015 numbers:
Record: 8-8
Offense rank: 13th
Defense rank: 19th

In just about every way, the Bills were mediocre last season. Even with as much attention as they got with Rex Ryan moving upstate from the rival Jets, the Bills were still middle of the road.

They may have is the answer at the quarterback position in Tyrod Taylor. Though someone might want to notify them of that considering they seemed dead set on finding his replacement this offseason. Taylor became a starter for the first time last season and completed 63% of his passes for 3035 yards, 20 touchdowns and 6 interceptions on his way to a Pro Bowl invite.

Sammy Watkins was back from his injury that cost him his rookie season and he caught 60 passes for 1047 yards and 9 touchdowns. LeSean McCoy had a decent season as well, running for 895 yards in 12 games to also earn a spot on the Pro Bowl roster.

The thing is, though, that Rex Ryan takes pride in his teams’ aggressive defense. And there wasn’t much bite to his defense last season. Their 21.0 team sacks were the second fewest in the NFL. They also forced just 9 fumbles, which is 6th fewest in the NFL. That’s the opposite of aggressive and far from scary. And therefore it’s something they sought to remedy this offseason.

To check in on the rumblings out of Buffalo, we look to, who else, but Buffalo Rumblings:

Notable free agent additions: CB Sterling Moore, S Robert Blanton, LB Zach Brown, DL Leger Douzable

Notable free agent departures: DE Mario Williams, LB Nigel Bradham, CB Leodis McKelvin

Trades: None

Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies:

DE / OLB Shaq Lawson (1st rd): It’s believe that he’ll miss first part of the season with shoulder injury. Will likely be a hybrid edge defender in Rex Ryan’s defense.

LB Reggie Ragland (2nd rd): Expected to be one of the team’s starting inside linebackers.

DL Adolphus Washington (3rd rd): Should fit in as rotational defensive linemen in a variety of spots.

Biggest offseason addition: Either Shaq Lawson or Reggie Ragland. Both filled major needs on Buffalo’s defense that underwhelmed in 2015 and will be key members of that side of the ball as rookies.

Biggest storyline heading into training camp: Defensive improvement. As alluded to, Rex Ryan didn’t have the greatest impact on the Bills defense a season ago. With some noteworthy departures and additions, how the defense performs is what everyone will be talking about during Bills training camp.

Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp: Battle for the No. 3 WR spot. Sammy Watkins is nursing a broken foot, and Robert Woods is the only decent wideout behind him. Guys (realistically) battling for this gig - Jarrett Boykin, Greg Little, Greg Salas, Leonard Hankerson, Walt Powell and rookie Kolby Listenbee

Notable injuries heading into training camp: Sammy Watkins (foot), Shaq Lawson (shoulder)

Also see the previews for:

Week 1 at New Orleans Saints
Week 2 vs Atlanta Falcons
Week 3 at Tennessee Titans
Week 4 at Baltimore Ravens
San Diego Chargers week 5, 15
Kansas City Chiefs week 6, 14
Week 7 at Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 8 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Denver Broncos week 9, 17
Week 11 vs Houston Texans
Week 12 vs Carolina Panthers