EAST RUTHERFORD- Maybe it's time to stop waiting for the Buffalo Bills to collapse and revert to the team that hasn't made the playoffs since 1999.
They seemingly are playing too well to fall apart.
The same can't be said for the New York Giants, who suddenly find themselves with a lot more doubters after an embarrassing loss at home to the Seattle Seahawks last weekend.
The Bills (4-1) and Giants (3-2) meet for the first time in four years today in a game at MetLife Stadium that may go a long way in determining where these teams are headed this year.
This is a game the Giants need to win. They will have a bye after this game, a game against winless Miami and then a killer schedule with games against New England, San Francisco, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Green Bay.
Getting past Buffalo won't be easy. The high-scoring, ball-hawking Bills are looking to match their best start since 2008, a year that quickly went south and ended with a 7-9 record. A win also would be one more than they had all last season.
"We're in a great situation. We're in a great position, but we still have a long way to go. Eleven games," Bills linebacker Andra Davis said. "I told you about being out there in Denver, 6-0, I'll never let that happen again. 4-1 is great. It's better than a lot of people, but at the same time, we've still got a lot of work. We could be 5-0, but at the same time we could be 2-3, we could be 0-5 like last year."
The secret to the Bills' success has been the balance of the offense led by quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and halfback Fred Jackson and the ability of the defense to force turnovers. The team is averaging close to 33 points and has scored 20 points in five straight games. It also has an NFL-best plus 11 in turnovers, led by a league-high 12 interceptions. Turnovers have led to 79 points, nearly half Buffalo's total for the season.
Fitzpatrick, who has thrown for 1,233 yards, 10 touchdowns and four interceptions, has been the constant on offense, leading them to a blowout win over Kansas City, comebacks win over Oakland and New England and a tight one last week against Philadelphia.
The Harvard product also knows there are experts around the country waiting for the Bills to fold.
"We have been counted out so many different times," Fitzpatrick said. "We got into every week and try to earn the respect of our opponent. The only way to do that is to do it on the field and not with what you've done in the past."
Going against the Giants, Fitzpatrick will be facing a defense that is giving up a ton of yards but one that also is leading the NFL with 18 sacks, including 6½ by second-year defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
Buffalo coach Chan Gailey quipped that he had no clue how to slow down the Giants' rush.
"If I understood that I'd work magic on the field with these guys here," Gailey said. "He's (Pierre-Paul) playing really well. There are several of those guys now, it's not just him. They've got a bunch of good edge pass rushers. They can come off the edge with a lot of teams in the NFL with three or four guys. You have to protect the best you can and get the ball out. We'll know where he is, don't worry about that."
The Giants might have a little more insight into the Bills than most opponents. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell coached with the Bills from 2006-09, and he served as their interim coach in 2009.
"Really a lot has happened since then and there's been a lot of turnover just in terms of the guys that are now in our locker room," said Fitzpatrick, who got a chance to start under Fewell. "And that's just the nature of the NFL. I know the guys are excited to see him. I'm excited to see him. He's a guy that was in my corner and gave me some opportunities and I'll always respect him for that."
The banged up Giants have a lot to prove after their performance against Seattle. They gave away a 25-22 lead late in the fourth quarter, allowing backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst to lead the Seahawks on a late 80-yard, go-ahead drive.
Eli Manning then drove the Giants downfield, getting them a first-and-goal at the Seattle 5. A false start and a 94-yard interception return for a score ended their hopes of a third straight fourth-quarter comeback win.
A second straight loss heading into the bye week would put the Giants in a tough situation with 10 games to play.
"We know how important this game is," said defensive captain Justin Tuck, who has missed the last two games with neck and groin injuries. "Coming off a loss we definitely don't want to go into the bye week being 0-for-our last two. You can see the focus. Our guys are determined to come out with a win."
Manning refused to place any extra emphasis on winning this week.
"We just have to worry about Buffalo and playing them," said Manning, who three for a career-high 420 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions against the Seahawks. "We will see what kind of game it will come out to and try to put ourselves in a situation to win."
AP Sports Writer John Wawrow in Buffalo, N.Y., contributed to this report.