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SportsColumnistsBob Glauber

Glauber: Jets? Let it snow, let wind blow, let it snow

One by one, the breaks have gone the Jets' way.

From the Steelers losing to the Browns in a huge upset, to the Dolphins beating the Patriots and putting only a game between New England and the Jets, to Indianapolis beating Jacksonville on Thursday night and keeping yet another wild-card contender in check, Rex Ryan's team is catching all the right results in its unlikely bid for a playoff spot.

Now even the weather is on the Jets' side.

With the weekend storm pummeling the East Coast and bringing snow, wind and frigid temperatures, how much better can it get for a team that likes to run the football and play tough defense?

And what better way to take the field than against a team from the South that plays its home games in a dome and has struggled on the road all season?

Welcome to the Meadowlands, Falcons. Say hello to winter in New Jersey. Good luck, fellas.

"I'm expecting a huge home-field advantage," Ryan said. "This is a dome team that is going to have to come into these elements and face our fans, the weather [and] our team."

The Falcons have enough problems with injuries to quarterback Matt Ryan (toe) and running back Michael Turner (ankle). Throw in the fact that Atlanta, 6-7 overall and barely clinging to life in the NFC wild-card race, is only 1-5 on the road.

"It's going to be tough on them, that's for sure," Ryan said.

But the Jets' uber-confident coach isn't completely without concern about the weather.

After all, his prized quarterback, rookie Mark Sanchez, has only limited experience in the difficult elements of the Northeast. And who can forget that Oct. 18 meltdown at the Meadowlands, when Sanchez had the worst game of his young career in frigid conditions against the Bills? He threw five interceptions and had a pathetic rating of 8.3 in a 16-13 overtime loss.

The kid from Southern California insists the weather won't be as big a factor in this one. For starters, he has become more acclimated to practicing in the cold. In fact, he joked the other day that he enjoyed the freezing temperatures. After Wednesday's practice, he cracked, "It was good. I needed it. It's thickening my blood."

Sanchez returns from a week's rest from a knee injury and can't wait to get back in action.

"I feel good, and I'm excited to play," he said. "I know there are going to be many more [games in the snow], so I plan to get used to it."

But don't look for Sanchez to be airing it out much in this one. His biggest job will be handing off to running backs Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene and allowing the NFL's No. 1 defense to take care of the struggling Falcons.

At 31, Jones is enjoying the best year of his career, with 1,167 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. Rookie Greene is battling a fumbling problem but has rushed for 353 yards and an average of 5.0 yards per carry.

So the formula is simple: Snow plus wind plus cold equals Jones plus Greene plus defense.

Mix in a little Sanchez, and the Jets are hoping they can turn all these breaks into another win - and another week of remaining in the playoff hunt.

New York Sports