The Bills have always played hard, Ryan said, flying around the field kind of like the gusts of wind that always seem to be buffeting the Ralph, which is less than 10 miles east of Lake Erie. Sometimes, he said, there is “snow and bad weather and all that stuff.”
Ryan added: “And that’s certainly something have to deal with. When you go out there, a calm day is probably 20-mile-an-hour winds. It seems like I’ve always been there in worse conditions.”
The forecast calls for Sunday’s game between the Jets and Bills to be played in practically balmy conditions, with a high of 55 degrees and winds a relatively calm 12 miles an hour. But now the Bills (5-2) actually have a good team, and they are 4-0 in home games this season, three at the Ralph, one in Toronto.
The Jets (4-3), meanwhile, have uncharacteristically lost all three of their road games this season, which Ryan said is something that “kind of digs” at him. In Ryan’s first two years as their coach, the Jets won 15 of 22 road games, including four playoff games.
“I think it bothers all of us, because we’ve always played well on the road,” Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson said.
against an improved division rival, which all but makes it a must-win, Tomlinson said. It comes after a bye week, and the Jets lost both games that came after bye weeks in Ryan’s first two years with the team.
Ryan said the Jets’ three road opponents this season — Oakland, Baltimore and New England, a combined 9-2 at home — have had something to do with the Jets’ poor road record. This is still inexcusable to Ryan.
“We know we need to win, no question,” he said Thursday. “You’re not going to go anywhere if you can’t win on the road.”
Tomlinson said he would probably point out to his teammates before they take the field on Sunday that the Jets will determine this month if they win the . After Sunday, they are to host New England (5-2), play at Denver (2-5) and play the Bills at home.
The Jets said practices for the Buffalo game have been relatively sharp. Tomlinson said he thinks the Jets have learned the hard way over the last two years about the perils that await teams coming off bye weeks without intensity. “I think with that type of focus, we will come out and play pretty good,” Tomlinson said.
When reminded Wednesday that the Jets had not won a road game, quarterback Mark Sanchez smiled and said: “Easy, easy. Be easy on us. This is still a tough team on the road. We’re just going to have to play smart. We can’t have any penalties and we have to take care of the football, and that will really set us free.”
The Jets have six turnovers in three road games, including three fumbles in a rugged 34-17 loss on Oct. 2 to the Baltimore Ravens. The Bills have a plus-9 turnover differential, the best in the A.F.C. and third in the N.F.L. The Bills’ assistant head coach, Dave Wannstedt, has employed a ball-hawking style on defense.
“He’s probably said a couple of words to them about defense, because that’s his thing,” said Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, who played for Wannstedt at the University of Pittsburgh.
Ryan had heard that the Bills plan to wear all-white uniforms Sunday for the first time at home since 1986. The Bills said they wanted to give their fans a chance to see the team play at least one home game in their all-white uniforms, but Ryan said, laughing, “They’re having a white-out — oh, my goodness.” The Jets will dress in the green jerseys that they normally wear at home — where they are 4-0 this year.
Ryan said he thought the Jets would break this recent trend of losing games on the road. He also said his team might derive some motivation from being a slight underdog.
“I think we just need to get off to a fast start,” Jets wide receiver Plaxico Burress said. “You look at their defense and the things that they’ve been doing. They’re a smart group but they’re fast, they’re physical. They’re number one in the league in takeaways. So, that’s just something that we’re definitely going to have to be cognizant about, taking care of the football and trying to get the crowd out of the game early.”