By Peter Schwartz
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It’s not often that a game against an 0-3 team is big, but Sunday’s match-up against the Bills in Orchard Park is crucial for the Jets.
How big is it?
“(It’s) huge,” said head coach Rex Ryan who is hoping to lead his team to their fifth straight road victory dating back to last season.
“Of the four biggest regular season games we have left, one of them is this game right here. Then, the three others will be the other divisional games. That’s how I look at it. That’s how I’ve talked about it with our team and we know how important this game is.”
The Jets bring a 2-1 record into Sunday’s contest and they sit in a three-way tie atop the division with New England and Miami. The Patriots and Dolphins meet on Monday night in Miami so a Jets victory will mean a tie for first place with somebody while a loss would drop them a game off the pace.
While they are certainly feeling good about themselves after back-to-back division wins over the Patriots and Dolphins, the last thing that the Jets are going to do is become complacent.
“I think our team confidence is pretty high, but it’s important not to take the cheese,” said quarterback Mark Sanchez. “Don’t take the bait and don’t start feeling yourself too much because a team like Buffalo, you go into their environment, their fans are desperate for a win. We’ll expect their best shot. If you overlook somebody like that, they’ll sweep the rug right out from under you. We don’t want that to happen.”
Sanchez also doesn’t want a repeat performance of last year’s home game against the Bills at Giants Stadium. Sanchez threw five interceptions in the Jets 16-13 overtime loss and knows first hand what kind of problems that the Bills present.
“They are a scrappy team and they’re tough,” said Sanchez. “They always have played us tough. They (the defense) fly around to the ball. They’re big on getting a tipped ball or something that like and then, boom, intercepting it. They know about intercepting me from last year. These guys probably know better than anyone. We need to play our best and really take care of the ball and we have a chance.”
We know that the Jets can deal with adversity. They shook off the distractions of the female reporter incident and the Braylon Edwards arrest to win two straight games.
Now, after those hard fought division victories, we’ll find out how the Jets deal with prosperity.
Tied for the AFC East lead, the Jets know they can’t take their foot off the pedal, especially Sanchez who looks to exorcise his demons against the Bills from a year ago.
“We’ve got a lot to prove,” said Sanchez. It’s good. They keep us hungry. Me personally, I want to go out and have a sharp game. If I play the way I have the past two weeks and getting help from everybody on the team on the offense and protecting the ball, we’ll have a chance.”
The Jets figure to have more than a snowballs chance of victory against the 0-3 Bills.
Speaking of snowballs, the Jets will be in Buffalo so you never know!
Here are some other storylines surrounding Sunday’s game…
The Bills lead the all-time series 53-45. The two rivals split last season’s contest with the Jets winning 19-13 on the road in Toronto. Gang Green has won three of the last four from the Bills.
*QB Ryan Fitzpatrick had a career-best 71.4 completion percentage last week against the Patriots wile throwing a pair of touchdown passes.
*RB Marshawn Lynch is averaging 82.7 rushing yards per game.
*WR Lee Evans has a 16.1 yards per catch average against the Jets (45 receptions and 726 yards).
*The Bills’ defense had 5 sacks in their last game against Jets.
NO REVIS AGAIN
Ryan announced on Thursday that cornerback Darrelle Revis would miss his second straight game because of a hamstring injury. The Jets survived the second half of the Patriots game and the entire game in Miami without him.
So, with a huge Monday night tilt against Brett Favre and the Vikings coming up next week, the Jets are preferring to err on the side of caution.
In fact, they are very happy with Revis’ progress.
“His rehab has been outstanding,” said Ryan. “That’s what they tell me. I haven’t seen it, but they say he’s been incredible. It’s just a hamstring is a thing that you don’t want to rush back especially if you’re a corner. We never rushed back Darrelle when he had the hamstring in training
camp because certainly as bad as we want him to play, we want him to play for the whole season, as much of the season as we possibly can. If he plays this game and then re-injures it, now we lose him for another six games or something like that. That would be devastating to our team. We need him at 100 percent and when he is, he’s the best corner in football.”
The Jets are doing the smart thing here. They need Revis for the long haul.
In a related story, it’s expected that Drew Coleman will start on the right side opposite Antonio Cromartie with Kyle Wilson moving to nickel back.
“I think Kyle’s struggling a little bit, without question, but I think Drew has
earned it,” said Ryan. “When we put him in, he stood up. Both of those guys will play a bunch. We think as coaches that he deserves a shot.”
Coleman sealed the win in Miami with an end zone interception in the final seconds.
THE PRYCE WAS RIGHT
On Thursday, the Jets signed defensive end Trevor Pryce who was released the day before by the Ravens. Having coached him in Baltimore, Ryan wasted no time in bringing Pryce in.
In fact, he’s going to put Pryce right to work on Sunday against the Bills.
“I think he’ll be in passing situations,” said Ryan. I definitely think he can get out there. This guy is a finisher. He’s a great pass rusher. (He’s) very similar to Jason Taylor except he’s an inside pass rusher. We go back and look at what I said about Trevor before we played him, I thought he was the best, or if not the best, one of the best inside pass rushers in the game and I still believe that. We just added a terrific player to go along with what we already have.”
The Ravens had assured Pryce that they were going to bring him back on Monday, but the Jets swooped in a grabbed him.
Needless to say its been quite a few days for Pryce who found out that he was New York/New Jersey bound during a jog with his wife on Wednesday.
“Then I get a call from my agent,” said Pryce.
“You’ve got to report to New York,” said the agent.”
“What am I doing in New York?,” said Pryce.
“You’re playing for the Jets,” answered his agent.
“Oh, boy,” said Pryce. “That’s kind of the best way I could put it and it’s been a whirlwind. It came out of nowhere, but it didn’t come out of nowhere where as I was literally on the waiver wire for like two hours. When Rex (Ryan) calls, you answer the call (laughing). You answer that call. It was strange walking in here at first and then I look at the playbook (and) the plays were the same. Then, it was like I stepped in a time capsule. I saw DT (Dennis Thurman) and I saw Rex, (Mike) Pettine and I saw Bart (Scott). I was like, ‘Where the hell am I?’ I’m in New York, so I’m excited.”
Ryan said that he didn’t receive an angry phone call from Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome, but it would be logical to assume that Baltimore is not very happy with their former defensive coordinator for signing a player that they had every intention of bringing back.
However, that’s the chance you take when you release someone.
THE NFL SUPPORTS BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH
The Bills, along with the other eight home teams, will host unique team specific events this weekend as part of the NFL’s support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The league has launched an initiative called “A Crucial Catch: Annual Screening Saves Lives” which encourages annual mammograms for women over 40.
Here’s more from the NFL’s press release on the campaign….
“Beginning on October 3 and continuing throughout the month, NFL Breast Cancer Awareness games will feature footballs with pink ribbon decals, on-field pink ribbon stencils, and many pink items, including cleats, wristbands, gloves, chin straps, sideline caps, pins, helmet decals, eye shield decals, captains’ patches, sideline towels and quarterback towels. To learn more about the campaign, go to http://www.NFL.com/pink.”
“Game-worn pink merchandise and footballs will be autographed post-game and auctioned at NFL Auction (www.nfl.com/auction). Unique NFL experiences such as a VIP trip to Super Bowl XLV and a 2011 Pro Bowl Spa Retreat Experience in Hawaii also will be up for auction. All NFL Auction proceeds during the month of October will benefit the American Cancer Society and team charities. Special pink merchandise will be available at http://www.NFLShop.com, in stadium retail stores, at Dick’s, Hatworld and Lids, with a portion of proceeds going to breast cancer charities.”
“ Two national landmarks, the Empire State Building in New York City and Niagara Falls near Buffalo, NY will be illuminated pink in early October to commemorate the NFL, its teams’ and its players’ efforts to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In honor of the NFL’s A Crucial Catch campaign, the Empire State Building will be lit pink on Sunday, October 3, the evening of the Chicago Bears-New York Giants game on NBC (8:30 PM ET). The Buffalo Bills and The Niagara Falls Illumination Board are working together to light the Falls pink on Friday, October 1 in honor of the Billieve Breast Cancer Awareness program.”
Great job by the NFL!!!!
Okay, its prediction time!!!!!!!
JETS 24 BILLS 16
That’s all for now! Enjoy the game!