The New York Jets' bye week may have come at an inopportune time following two straight victories, though they're confident the momentum won't be lost due to the layoff.
Given their history under coach Rex Ryan following a week off, they better hope that's the case Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, who look to win their first five home games for the first time in 16 years.
The Jets (4-3) have lost both games following their bye since Ryan took over before the 2009 season and entered this year's week off with consecutive wins, including 27-21 over San Diego on Oct. 23.
Ryan couldn't explain why his team looked flat after the time off the past two seasons, though he said that can't be the case this year.
"We have to do something about that trend," Ryan said. "We need to win this week."
That becomes especially true given New York is one game behind Buffalo and New England - its next two opponents - in the AFC East race.
Cornerback Darrelle Revis classified Sunday's game as a "must win."
"You can't focus on the past coming off byes and losing," Revis said. "It's a new year and we're in control of our destiny and where we want to go."
Recent history is on the Jets' side heading into Sunday's matchup. New York has won five of the last six meetings, including three straight in Buffalo. Ryan said the Jets have been very active in practice, proving to him they'll be prepared despite the time off.
New York has not lost its first four road games since 2007, and it hopes to extend that stretch while bettering its chances of a third straight playoff appearance.
"Would we like to have had a better record? Absolutely, we would've, but we don't," Ryan said. "We're 4-3, but we have it right in front of us. The teams you have to beat are right in front of us, so we'll know. These next few weeks are going to be critical for us."
Buffalo (5-2) hasn't won its first five home games since the 1995 season, but the Bills should have a solid chance of ending that streak if they can duplicate their most recent performance.
Buffalo dominated Washington 23-0 last week in Toronto, notching its first shutout since beating Miami on Dec. 17, 2006. The Bills allowed only 178 total yards - a far cry from giving up at least 414 in each of the previous five contests - and intercepted two passes to give them an NFL-most 14.
The Bills also recorded nine sacks.
"You hope that your team gains confidence from that, and that your defense sees how well they can play," coach Chan Gailey said. "It should create more confidence."
The Bills still rank 26th in the league allowing an average of 385.9 yards. They'll have a chance to improve on that number against a Jets offense which ranks 29th gaining 300.1 yards per game.
New York, however, busted out for a season-high 162 rushing yards against San Diego, as Shonn Greene rushed for 112 - his most since running for 117 against the Bills in a 38-14 win Oct. 3, 2010.
The Jets totaled 273 rushing yards in that contest, then ran for 276 in a 38-7 win over Buffalo on Jan. 2. In the past four meetings, New York is averaging 279.0 yards on the ground.
Buffalo is 20th in the league allowing an average of 120.0 yards rushing, but it has countered that with a strong ground game of its own.
The Bills rank fifth with 140.6 rushing yards per game led by Fred Jackson, who ran for 120 last week.
Jackson is second in the NFL averaging 103.0 yards, and his six rushing touchdowns are tied for fifth. In addition, his 353 receiving yards rank fourth among running backs.
"He's doing an amazing job for our football team right now," Gailey said. "We wouldn't be where we are without him, I know that."
Jackson, though, gained only 35 yards on 13 carries in the last meeting with the Jets, who rank 25th allowing 126.9 rushing yards per game.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has a 97.8 passer rating which ranks sixth in the league, though he has a 62.0 rating in four career games versus New York.