Tavern talk: Prime time for T.O. tonight

Big night for Buffalo Bills wide receiver Terrell Owens, who gets to play in front of a national TV audience. Owens is coming off his best three games as a Bill, and the team’s offense actually looks like it can make a few plays in the passing game. Tonight will be a huge challenge for them to try and protect quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick against the Jets’ pressure package. But the Bills have taken more shots down the field the past three weeks, and the results have been favorable. Owens alone has made more big plays, and he’s been the target nine times a game; previously, he was the target only six times a game. With the added looks, he’s getting the ball more and making more plays — all of which will help him come contract time in February.

Owens is not the same player in terms of speed or his ability to escape press coverage at the line, but he can still make plays and he can help a few teams if they can handle the sideshow that he brings. It will be an interesting off season for Owens, but if the Bills can win a few more games down the stretch, I’d be shocked if the Bills didn’t want to re-sign him. Buffalo might be the best place, and maybe the only place, for Owens.

The game will be a good one tonight because both teams have specific reasons to play well. The Bills want to play well for their head coach, Perry Fewell, and prove he can be the man to lead them next season. Fewell needs a few more wins to show he’s a serious candidate for the job. As for Yahoo Dave’s beloved Jets, they have a very dim chance of securing a playoff spot. (Yes, Dave, very dim, like your reference that Belichick can only win with Tom Brady at quarterback. It must be tough being a Jets fan, seeing the game from a disjointed perspective, considering that the Pats didn’t make the playoffs the year Brady was injured, but neither did the Jets. Get real, Dave.) The Jets have to win out, and it will take a solid effort tonight. The Bills play hard, they play soundly, and they rely on their opponent to make a mistake -- something the Jets seem to be more than willing to do.

I suspect we’ll see a good game, and I have a feeling the Jets can do enough to secure the win. What does anyone other than Yahoo Dave think?

On another note…

In his interview this week with Yahoo! Sports, injured Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher called Jay Cutler "a great player who can take us a long way" and said he still has "faith in him." But he also hates "the way our identity has changed."

"We used to establish the run and wear teams down and try not to make mistakes, and we'd rely on our defense to keep us in the game and make big plays to put us in position to win," Urlacher told the Web site. "Kyle Orton might not be the flashiest quarterback, but the guy is a winner, and that formula worked for us. I hate to say it, but that's the truth."

Is Urlacher really being serious? The Bears had an identity? Consider this, Brian: If the Bears don’t make the playoffs this year — and they won’t – that will make it four of six seasons they haven’t been involved in the postseason. Is that the identity Urlacher was referring to? The Bears can’t slow anyone down on defense or run the ball with their offense. And yes, Cutler does throw too many interceptions and is loose with the ball, but he’s part of a larger problem. The Bears must get their act together and find an identity because they never had one.

Follow me on Twitter: michaelombardi

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