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Greetings from Orchard Park: It's a cold day and a cold business

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills' season will come to an end this afternoon against the New York Jets in Ralph Wilson Stadium, but the drama likely will intensify in the coming days.

This could be the last we see of General Manager Buddy Nix, coach Chan Gailey and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in Bills gear because of poor performances. We also might get our last looks at players such as safety Jairus Byrd and left guard Andy Levitre, who will be free agents after the season.

The Jets, meanwhile, are a perpetual soap opera. Head coach Rex Ryan also could be on his way out. Mark Sanchez will start at quarterback today for injured erstwhile third-stringer Greg McElroy.

The Tim Tebow storyline will lurk on the sidelines. Will it pounce?

Here is a digest of items about today's game ...

Point spread: Bills --3.5. The over/under total is 39 points. For Las Vegas oddsmaker Joel Staniszewski's thoughts from a betting perspective, check out this week's "On the line from Vegas" blog.

Weather report: The Weather Channel forecast for kickoff is 25 degrees, with 62 percent humidity, a 10 percent chance of snow and 14 mph winds.

Matchup to watch: The first time they played, Bills defensive end Mario Williams complained Jets right tackle Austin Howard hit him in the face too much. Williams made one tackle, and that was all. It was a bad first impression for Williams, who had wrist surgery during the bye week and has picked up his play since. Let's see what Williams does in the rematch.

Milestone watch: If the Bills allow 29 points today, then they will break their club record for points allowed in a season. The 1984 Bills gave up 454 points. ... Bills receiver Stevie Johnson needs 65 yards to reach 1,000 for a third straight season. .... T.J. Graham can set a Bills rookie record with a catch in his 15th consecutive game. ... Running back C.J. Spiller is 15 rushing yards from becoming the first Bill with 1,200 since Willis McGahee in 2005.

The Buffalo News has you covered throughout the day. Buffalo News columnists Jerry Sullivan and Bucky Gleason and reporters Mark Gaughan, Jay Skurski and I will be in the Ralph Wilson Stadium press box.

Skurski will moderate our live chat from noon until 5 p.m. "[BN] the Huddle," our postgame webcast, will begin at 7:30 p.m. Hosted by Lauren Mariacher and me, our recap will include reports from Orchard Park and analysis from One News Plaza staffers.

Remember that defensive overhaul the Bills were supposed to have? The Bills rank 22nd in total defense, 31st in points allowed, 32nd in run defense and 13th in passing defense. They also rank 15th in sacks, tied for 21st in interceptions and tied for 24th in takeaways.

Today's game is being televised by CBS, but blacked out locally. Marv Albert will handle play-by-play, with former NFL MVP Rich Gannon on color commentary.

Bills all-time games versus the Jets: The Jets lead the series, 53-50. The Bills are 28-23 at home against them. Cookie Gilchrist ran for a series-high 243 yards in 1963. Jerry Butler had 255 receiving yards and Joe Ferguson threw for 367 in the same 1979 game.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham | tgraham@buffnews.com


Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan | mgaughan@buffnews.com


Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski | jskurski@buffnews.com

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