By Dave Thomas
Riding a six-game losing streak, the New York Jets hope perhaps a step down in competition will help lead them to their second win of the season this Sunday when they host AFC East rival Buffalo.
New York came close to gaining a big upset win on the road last Thursday evening, only to fall short at New England by a 27-25 score. Meantime, Buffalo had to fight and claw its way to a 17-16 home win over the hapless Minnesota Vikings. The win, however, came with a price.
The Bills announced that top running back C.J. Spiller will be out indefinitely after breaking his collarbone, while fellow running back Fred Jackson may be sidelined for up to a month with a groin problem.
So, does a banged up Bills' squad spell a second win of the season for Rex Ryan and his Jets?
Bills Still In AFC East Race
While the Jets have stumbled to a 1-6 mark in a performance that could ultimately cost the boisterous Ryan his job when all is said and done, Buffalo has managed to keep itself in the division race, though Tom Brady and the Patriots are still the perennial favorites to win another AFC East crown.
Heading into this Sunday's contest in East Rutherford, N.J., Buffalo sits at 4-3, good for second place in the division. Miami (3-3) is still a threat also in the hunt, while the Jets are just looking for a victory to gain some confidence.
To date, Buffalo has been led on offense by well-traveled QB Kyle Orton (890 yards passing, five TD's). Orton replaced EJ Manuel earlier in the season under center, giving the Bills some veteran leadership at the most important position on the field.
With the injuries to both Spiller (287 yards rushing) and Jackson (239 yards rushing), it will be interesting to see how and if the Bills can manage a reliable run game in the coming weeks. If not, look for Orton and wide receiver Sammy Watkins (433 yards receiving, four TD's) and tight end Scott Chandler (career-high six catches for 105 yards in a loss to New England) to carry the load.
On the defensive side of the ball, Preston Brown (51 total tackles) and Marcel Dareus (seven sacks) lead the way, respectively.
For the overall series, Buffalo holds a 55-50 lead in the match ups.
Even though some die-hard Jets fans have not written off the season, things do not look good in Gotham.
The one bright spot for New York is the schedule over these next few weeks, as the Jets catch Buffalo twice, Kansas City and Pittsburgh, along with a bye to close out October and November.
For more Jets news and updates, visit Jets Central.
Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.
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