Scha-den-freu-de noun: pleasure derived by someone from another's misfortune
A healthy dollop of schadenfreude is part of the approach to Sunday's game. If the Bills can't make the playoffs, why should the Jets? New York needs to beat Buffalo or have Pittsburgh lose to Cleveland to end their four year playoff drought. Of course, the Bills playoff drought is up to 16 years.
The last time the Jets were in the playoffs, Rex Ryan was their coach. But Ryan isn't taking the bait when asked about spoiling New York's playoff hopes.
"The spoiler role-who knows?" Ryan said earlier this week. "To me, us just getting a win against a good football team would be great."
2. FITZ FIRST PLAYOFF APPEARANCE HINGES ON HIS FIRST TRIP BACK TO BUFFALO
Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick made many friends and won many admirers during his four year stint with the Bills. And many Bills fans wouldn't mind seeing Fitz get his first crack at the postseason after eleven years of bouncing around from team to team.
In NFL history, only Archie Manning has more starts at quarterback without a playoff appearance than Fitzpatrick. Manning had 139, Fitz has 104.
But most Bills fans would prefer a Buffalo win this Sunday regardless of their affection for Fitzpatrick. He's been outstanding since the Bills beat the Jets seven weeks ago. In New York's five game win streak, Fitzpatrick has completed 65-percent of his passes for 13 touchdowns and just one interception. He's found his comfort zone with receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker during that streak.
This Sunday, Fitzpatrick returns to a town he was comfortable with for four years, and he told New York reporters earlier this week how much living in Buffalo and playing for the Bills meant to his career.
"It has some extra meaning to me because I was there for four years and the fans were so great to me and my family," Fitzpatrick said. "There's a little bit of extra meaning there, but I don't think there needs to be, with the significance and the importance of the game and what's at stake for us."
3.**STRONG FINISH FOR TYROD TAYLOR
Bills QB Tyrod Taylor continues to win endorsements from Rex Ryan and Doug Whaley as the man they can line up and play with next year. And he's got one more chance to solidify his hold on the starting quarterback spot.
Taylor needs 147 yards passing Sunday to reach the 3,000 yard mark for the season. He'd get that mark in his 14th game, tying Jim Kelly and Doug Flutie for the third fewest games needed to hit the 3,000 yard mark.
Taylor needs an efficient passing day as well, if he wants to finish the year with a quarterback rating of 100-or better.
4. SAMMY VS. REVIS-THE SEQUEL
When the Bills and Jets played seven weeks ago, New York CB Darrelle Revis followed Bills WR Sammy Watkins all over the field. Watkins was limited to 3 catches for 14 yards. But he made one critical catch in the fourth quarter that was one of the biggest plays of the game. With Buffalo up by five, and 2:47 left to play, the Bills were looking at 3rd-and-2 from their own 15. They had just botched a punt snap on their last possession, and momentum was clearly in favor of the Jets.
Watkins lined up across from Revis on the outside, and got himself open for a 4-yard pickup and a Buffalo first down. The Jets had to spend their final timeout and the Bills were able to finish off the game and squeeze out a 5 point victory. It was a small play, but a critical play in a game-long battle between two top performers. Expect more of the same this Sunday.
- CRITICAL MINUTES FOR YOUNG PLAYERS TRYING TO LEAVE AN IMPRESSION**
Buffalo goes into this game with another long injury list. That means just like last week, when players like Mike Gillislee and A.J. Tarpley were able to make strong impressions, some other young Bills will get a chance to show their stuff.
Look for safety Jonathan Meeks to get more playing time on the back end of the Buffalo defense. Wide Receivers Leonard Hankerson and Greg Salas figure to have some passes thrown their way. And cornerback Mario Butler is likely to get his second start in the NFL.
"I think any time you go out on an NFL field, it's a big opportunity for you," Butler said this week. "I'm blessed enough to get a chance last week to get my first NFL start and play pretty solid. When you get a chance to show what you can do it's very important for this organization and how they feel about me. I just try to return that by playing well."
6. HOME RECORD, DIVISION RECORD, JETS STREAK ON THE LINE
The Bills have won their last four games against the Jets, their longest current streak against anybody in the AFC East. But in Sunday's game, they're also looking to go 4-2 in the AFC East for the second consecutive year.
And the Bills are looking for a win at home to finish the year 5-3 in Orchard Park. They've had a winning record in Ralph Wilson Stadium for the last four years.
7. LAST GAME OF THE SEASON, FIRST GAME OF THE YEAR
The bitter disappointment about the way the 2015 season played out is felt by the fans, obviously, but the feeling is even worse in the Buffalo locker room. There's nothing like a two-game win streak at the end of the year to begin to set the tone for next season.