Jets-Bills Preview - NBC Sports

Jets-Bills Preview
November 19, 2014, 10:46 pm

Before attempting to dig their playoff hopes out of a deep hole, the Buffalo Bills will first need to excavate Ralph Wilson Stadium out from a staggering snow storm.

The New York Jets have been digging for answers all season.

After more than four feet of snow blanketed Buffalo, the Bills will need to remove it before attempting to sweep the season series from the Jets for the first time in seven years Sunday.

Buffalo (5-5) has lost back-to-back games, and its 22-9 defeat to Miami on Nov. 13 has reduced the chances of ending its 14-year playoff drought. It could wind up in further limbo if this game with New York (2-8) is delayed - potentially as late as Tuesday according to reports - with a snow fall expected to reach up to six feet.

The race to clear the snow will include up to 500 people working three shifts around the clock, and it usually takes three days to clear one foot of snow.

While delaying the game is possible, a change of venue is another option for the league.

"We are working with the Bills to determine the status of the stadium," NFL spokesman Michael Signora said via email. "If a change to the schedule needs to be made, the league will make the decision working closely with the club and local authorities."

The Bills didn't practice Wednesday, and players used the free time to share their "snow day" experiences on social media.

Coach Doug Marrone, meanwhile, and his staff have been holed up in the team offices preparing for the Jets after getting stuck in the storm Tuesday. They got help from a New York State trooper, but couldn't get within five miles of the stadium.

"I've never seen anything like it," said Marrone, who previously coached Syracuse and is from the Bronx downstate. "It's very difficult to put into words exactly what's going on.

"Us being able to go out and practice is obviously not an option for us. This is very challenging. It's a tough, tough situation."

Kyle Orton has his own tough situation as he tries to shake off a toe injury and his worst performance since supplanting EJ Manuel as the starter. He completed 22 of 39 passes for 193 yards while failing to get the Bills into the end zone against the Dolphins.

Continued struggles could lead to Marrone turning back to Manuel, who was largely ineffective through the first four weeks of the season.

Having Fred Jackson back should help. The running back has been hampered by a groin injury that forced him to miss the loss to Miami and limited him to three carries and 10 yards in a defeat to Kansas City on Nov. 9.

"We need all hands on deck," Jackson said. "I need 100 percent for me to be out there and help my teammates. I think they want me out there. I want to be out there. I want to try to make some plays and get this thing turned around.

"We lost to two (teams) that we'll be fighting for position with, but there's always a chance. And anytime you have a chance, you're going to show up and fight. That's what I expect out of the guys in this locker room. And that's what I'm definitely going to do."

Buffalo has won three of the past four meetings with New York, and Orton tossed four TDs - including a 61-yarder to Sammy Watkins - in a 43-23 road victory in Week 8.

That meeting also marked a change at quarterback for the Jets, who inserted Michael Vick after Geno Smith was intercepted three times on eight passes in the first quarter. Vick went 18 for 36 for 153 yards, but ran for 69 on eight attempts as the Jets rolled up 175 with an average of 5.3 per carry.

"We were in the game and we put ourselves in a position to win the game, but it was all about turnovers," said Vick, who also committed three turnovers in that defeat. "I think you can go through it and hope that it's not going to be the same."

New York, though, may need a similar rushing effort at snow-bound Buffalo. The Jets gained 150 of their 275 yards on the ground while upsetting Pittsburgh 20-13 in Week 10 before entering its bye.

Vick had two touchdown passes against the Steelers, hitting T.J. Graham for a 67-yard strike as the Jets built a 17-0 lead in the first quarter.

Coach Rex Ryan, though, isn't dwelling on his decision to stick with Smith before eventually turning to Vick.

"You can easily say, 'Oh, well, we should've done this,' now," Ryan said. "At the same time, I was comfortable in my decision, not just with Michael, but with the other ones as well. So, I'm not going to spend time looking back."

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