Let's not turn to "trap game" to describe the Jets' game at Buffalo on Sunday. The term is overused in the sporting lexicon, and besides, it doesn't describe the Green & White position.
Let's say instead the Jets can find themselves in a dangerous situation. There is no way they are overlooking the Bills this week. But there also is no way the Bills are overlooking them.
As Bills RB Boobie Dixon said a few days ago, "We've got something to play for now ... to send them home packing, that would be great. We're not going to the playoffs, so the Super Bowl is next week for us. I know we're going to have a lot of guys jacked."
That's what the Jets need to be prepared for. Many of the Bills and many of the Jets were around for last year's two wins by the Bills by the combined score of 81-26. Many more were around for this year's 22-17 Jets loss in primetime seven weeks ago. Buffalo is banged up physically and pridefully with its 7-8 record and 16th straight season of no playoffs, yet still skilled enough to damage the Jets' dreams.
As far as the X's and O's, Jets fans know they need to be ready for the wrinkles coach Rex Ryan, DC Dennis Thurman and OC Greg Roman will throw at them.
Chris Simms, former NFL quarterback, son of an NFL quarterback, and now a CBS football analyst, described it this way:
"The Buffalo Bills are in total upset mode right now and this is when the offensive and defensive coordinators become brave. They're going to call some plays they likely wouldn't call in the middle of the season when they're trying to get into the playoffs. The Jets need to stay alert. Surprise onside kicks, fleaflickers, reverses — all those could happen."
Jets coach Todd Bowles, as unfazed as he's been while guiding the Jets from 5-5 to 10-5 and to the doorstep of the postseason, was asked if he and his team have to be aware of all the gadgets tumbling out of the Bills' bag of tricks.
"We try to be ready for them every week and we know we can get them from Game 1 to Game 16," Bowles said. "We just prepare as we normally do and read our cues."
If you're a team like the Bills out of the playoff hunt, Bowles added, "I think you show up to play. You play for pride in the first place and the name on the back of your jersey if nothing else. I know those guys are going to show up to play because they have a good team."
New England, needless to say, is not in the same boat as Buffalo. But if it's any indication of the Jets' readiness for what's ahead, consider the blizzard of ploys the Patriots used to try to unsettle the Jets on the first drive of the second quarter three days ago:
First play: End-around time with Keshawn Martin motioning from the left slot, taking the Tom Brady handoff, and gaining 6 yards.
Second play: Steven Jackson, the veteran RB who hadn't been in a football uniform since March, makes his Patriots debut and gains 5 yards.
Fourth play: Brady goes downfield for the first time. His target: TE Rob Gronkowski lined up as a split end going against CB Antonio Cromartie. Gronk gets past Cro, juggles the throw, and holds on for a 30-yard gain.
Fifth play: Fleaflicker time as Brady takes the tossback from Brandon Bolden and leads Gronkowski too far for an incompletion.
Sixth play: Reverse time as WR Brandon LaFell moving left takes the flip from James White moving right and picks up 9 yards.
Seventh play: Wildcat with Brady flanked wide right and Bolden taking the direct snap. The Jets run defense slams the door shut for no gain.
The result of all of that razzle-dazzle was a New England field goal, and Ryan Fitzpatrick and the offense responded with a long touchdown drive. The Jets handled all that from the AFC champs, and Cromartie said after today's practice that their approach this Sunday is to take care of business in B-town:
"That's the plan," Cro said. "I'm not guaranteeing anything. That's our plan, to go in and win. We're not looking at it any other way."
On-Field Preparation Begins for Sunday's #WinAndWereIn AFC East Tilt in Buffalo