Snowstorm gives Jets competitive advantage over Bills

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The Buffalo Bills couldn't go to work Wednesday. Stuck at their homes because of a monster snowstorm, the players got cozy with their iPads, studying the game plan and game tape of the New York Jets. There was no practice.

Meanwhile, it was a typical day at One Jets Drive. The Jets attended classroom sessions with their coaches, practiced outdoors, lifted weights, dined in their really cool cafeteria and watched tape before heading home.

Thursday could be a repeat, with Western New York bracing for another storm.

Advantage for the Jets? Absolutely.

Allen Iverson's legendary rant notwithstanding -- "We're talking about practice; we ain't talking about the game" -- practice is important. Jets coach Rex Ryan tried to downplay it, claiming the two divisional foes know each other so well that "mental reps" are good enough, but don't believe that for a second. On-the-field preparation is vital and, unless the NFL decides to postpone Sunday's 1 p.m. kickoff at Ralph Wilson Stadium, the Bills will be at a competitive disadvantage.

"Hope so," Ryan said, quickly adding, "No, I'm just kidding. I think the main thing, obviously, is everybody is safe up there."

This is shaping up as a no-win situation for Ryan and the Jets (2-8). If they beat the under-practiced Bills (5-5), the postgame narrative will be, "Well, what did you expect?" If the Jets lose to a team whose preparation was significantly impacted by the snow? Wow, it could be the final nail in Ryan's coaching coffin. We're not talking Jets-Patriots here. We're talking about teams with similar talent, so, yeah, coaching and preparation matter.

Naturally, Ryan was attempting to minimize the impact of lost practice.

"We know each other well, so how much the plan changes, probably not a whole lot," said Ryan, whose team lost to the Bills 43-23 less than a month ago. "They did force six turnovers on us the last time, so I don't know if they want to change that formula. I think it might be a bigger issue had you not just played your opponent. We just played three games ago or something, so I don't know how big an issue it is. Obviously, if the league thinks it's an issue, they may make an adjustment."

The league should push back the game to Monday or Tuesday if the Bills miss at least two full days of practice.

"I'm pretty sure they're not upset about it; I can promise you that," Michael Vick said, smiling.

What he meant was, players everywhere are banged-up at this stage of the season, and an extra day off or two could have a revitalizing effect. But, in his next breath, Vick noted that, yes, practice matters.

"No, practice is not overrated," he said, taking the anti-Iverson route. "I think the most important thing you can do is practice. You have to get a feel for timing, new concepts, new things you may be doing, and I think it's very critical. The last thing you want to do is miss a week of practice and come and try to play. I'm not saying it can't be done, but I just know how important it is."

Veteran linebacker Jason Babin suspects the Bills are "coaching remotely," meaning: "I'm sure they're on the email, they're sending videos to the guys and they're on their iPads."

The conditions are so bad in Western New York that driving is prohibited. Ryan said he hasn't seen any TV footage, but, "I understand it's pretty brutal." Geno Smith thought the area had received five or six inches of snow. When told it was four feet, he replied, "That's crazy."

The forecast for Sunday includes rain and temperatures in the 40s, which isn't bad. The question is whether the snow can be removed fast enough to hold a major sporting event.

"We'll be ready one way or the other, whatever the league says," Ryan said.

But will the Bills?