Weather expected to be a factor Sunday

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- It's December in Western New York, and as the last week or two has proven, snow is a fact of life.

But for Sunday's game at Ralph Wilson Stadium, it will likely be rain -- not snow -- that will make the playing conditions difficult. The latest forecast calls for temperatures in the low-to-mid 50s with a 90 percent chance of rain.

The Miami Dolphins might actually catch a break with the weather forecast, which is now warmer than previously anticipated. However, Bills coach Doug Marrone said Thursday that it's the wind -- not the temperature -- that can give opponents fits at the Ralph.

"I think what's difficult about this stadium, now having been here for a year, it's really not to get used to the cold like most people would think," he said. "A lot of us have played in the cold or somewhere along the line and really when you're out there, you have heaters on the sidelines and you're really not out there long. The thing that I think where we benefit from being out there and the biggest difference is no doubt the wind."

After playing their past three games either in a dome or in Florida, the Bills returned to practicing outdoors this week, which Marrone said has paid off.

"That's the one thing that it's different. There's no doubt about it, of any place that I've ever been," he said. "You can tell that, from practicing out there with our players, we're getting used to that. That's important, and I think that's going to give us a great advantage."

While the conditions might favor the Bills, the home crowd will be more sparse than usual. The Bills have 16,000 unsold tickets for the game, which has caused it to be blacked out.

"Yeah, I don't really put much thought into it," Marrone said of the blackout. "I know this: The fans that are there, we need them. We have played much better at home. I'd like to think it's because of the coaching and all the other things, but never lose sight that the fans have done an outstanding job and have been a part of the reason why we've played better there."

The Bills are 3-3 at Ralph Wilson Stadium this season.