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Bills S Whitner respects troubled Raiders

9/20/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Based on the two-game-old season, the Buffalo Bills should steamroll the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

The Bills have been comprehensively good. The Raiders will show up at Ralph Wilson Stadium at their sketchy best.

They were blown out by the Denver Broncos in Week 1, prompting heavy speculation head coach Lane Kiffin was as good as fired. The inevitable apparently was delayed by a Week 2 victory over the wretched Kansas City Chiefs.

Kiffin presumably will be on the sideline Sunday. Then again, on the charter flight the Raiders could hand him a parachute and order him to get out somewhere over Paducah, Ky.

Despite Oakland's turmoil, Buffalo safety Donte Whitner is preparing for a live opponent.

"We have to guard against those thoughts because Oakland is a better football team than a lot of people think," Whitner told me Friday in the Bills' locker room. "They're 1-1, and they're better than they were last year."

Whitner is looking like a Raider himself these days. Five staples -- yes, staples -- are closing a gash in his left eyebrow after a helmet-less tackle in Sunday's victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Whitner has been especially impressed with Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell and rookie RB Darren McFadden.

"If you look at the film, Oakland has a lot, a lot of speed in all phases of the game," Whitner said. "At any given time, one of those guys can blow past you, and you give up a touchdown. JaMarcus has a great, strong arm. He can get the ball out there.

"We want to keep building on what we have here. We have an opportunity to go 3-0 this weekend, and you better believe we're going to be out there, trying as hard as we can to get the win."