Orchard Park very tough environment

Regardless of what the understated New York Jets say publically, Sunday's matchup versus the Bills is a game they should win.

"Orchard Park is one of the toughest places that I've ever played in." Jets safety Kerry Rhodes said on Wednesday as he prepared to take the practice field. "The crowd is always into the game no matter how the Bills are playing and no matter what their record is."

Indeed, Rhodes is correct. Historically speaking, finding a win in Ralph Wilson Stadium has been no easy task for the Jets over the years.

In fact, over the course of the past decade, the team has left Buffalo with a victory on only three occasions. Interestingly enough, the same can be said for the Bills travelling to the Meadowlands as, over the same ten year span, the teams have split their two-game regular season series in all but three seasons.

Perhaps there is good reason for the parity.

"What you know about division games is that they are going to be extremely tough" Head Coach Eric Mangini said. "Because you have so much background with those teams."

History aside, Sunday's game is one the Jets cannot afford to lose, as the Bills have been absolutely devastated by injury.

Defensively, cornerback Jason Webster, safety Ko Simpson and linebacker Paul Posluszny, all three of which were starters, have been placed on injured reserve and are lost for the season. Additionally, linebackers Keith Ellison and Coy Wire are banged up and likely won't play Sunday.

To make matters worse, quarterback J.P. Losman sprained his MCL last Sunday and the team will be without his services as well. The Bills will turn to rookie Trent Edwards to run an offense that is already ranked last in the league in total yardage per game.

On the other side of the ball, the Jets remain relatively healthy. Aside from the loss of Justin Miller, and the bumps and bruises that inherently follow any team throughout the course of the season, Mangini's bunch remains largely intact.

Chad Pennington's performance of a week ago put to bed any long-term injury concerns, and his offense should be able to put forth a strong showing against a porous Bills defense that is yielding an average of close to thirty points per game.

One of the lone bright spots thus far for the Bills has been the strong play of rookie running back, Marshawn Lynch. The Jets, of course, have had their issues shutting down the run, so expect to see a big dose of Lynch this weekend.

With the Patriots looking as dominant as they have, the Jets need to accumulate as many wins as possible early on to keep pace in the AFC East. Despite a 1-2 record, they remain a game ahead of both the Bills and Dolphins in the standings, and although Orchard Park has not been kind to the team over the years, Sunday's game is an opportunity they cannot afford to let slip away.

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