Saturday, November 5, 2011

Against Bills, Jets look to end post-bye trend

Coming off a bye week hasn't been the most pleasant experience for NFL teams so far this year. Coming off a bye week for the Jets hasn't been pleasant for quite some time now.

At 4-3 and currently third in the division, New York is looking to reverse its trend of the last few years at the hands of the first-place Bills, who, with a win, could put a definitive stamp on the AFC.

“This is a big game,” Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick told the media this week. “I think to say it’s any bigger than any other one it is bigger in the sense that it is a division game. I think the Patriots game in the beginning of the year being a division game was probably as big. But if you want to be playoff team you’ve got to win games in your division.”

Post-bye week games have been problematic this year, as the league has a combined record of 8-10 after a week off. The Jets in particular have struggled in that department, having lost the last two years after the bye week and posting a 5-5 record in the last 10. Jets coach Rex Ryan admitted the team seemed off a bit after last year's bye and emphasized the importance of a win this week.

“Sluggish, offensively, because I think if you look at it defensively, we held Green Bay really to three points (last year),” Ryan told the media this week. “I don’t think the whole team has been sluggish, we just never got in a rhythm, we played some good teams, but yes, we have to do something about that trend. We need to win this week.”

The Jets have been successful against the Bills in recent years, winning the last three meetings and five of six, including a blow-out win at home in early January while fielding nearly an entire lineup of backups. Fitzpatrick told the media he thinks the bye is a positive for Gang Green, but ultimately home-field advantage wins out.

“I think they’ve got a little bit of an advantage to spend some time, just like we did coming off our bye,” Fitzpatrick said. “I think we had a little bit of an advantage just because we were spending more time game planning and preparing and really figuring out what we needed to do offensively and defensively to get better. That being said, we’re playing at home. I think that’s a big advantage for us.”