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Buffalo Bills' backs to battle San Francisco 49ers

A season ago, Chan Gailey's Buffalo Bills parlayed a sensational win over the New England Patriots into a 5-2 start. We all know what happened from there.

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One year later, the Bills are coming off a pure debacle against the Patriots that saw their disappointing defense give up 52 points. Buffalo is 2-2 and play four of their next five games on the road starting Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. It's a brutal stretch that will tell us everything we need to know about this year's version of the Bills.

"It's going to define what we want to do this season, we know that," Fred Jackson told The Associated Press. "To get to where we want to be, we have to be able to go on the road and win games, and win games against opponents like this."

The Bills will have both Jackson and C.J. Spiller in their backfield for the second week in a row, and that provides an interesting matchup against San Francisco's elite gang of linebackers led by Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman. notes that Spiller has an NFL-best 14 missed tackles on 41 touches, and Gailey thrives at creating mismatches when this pair of backs are both in play. Jackson and Spiller are dangerous receiving targets in space, but they won't have an easy time exploiting the 49ers because Bowman and Willis are three-down 'backers who excel in coverage.

Just one aspect of a rather fascinating matchup pitting Gailey's no-huddle, spread attack against Jim Harbaugh's masterful ability to snub out an opponent's strengths. It won't be easy, but Buffalo needs a win to prevent their season from entering nosedive territory.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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