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    109th Tarpon Springs Epiphany: Schedule of Events, Road Closures

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    The 109th Epiphany celebration begins Monday, January 5 with the Arrival of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios and the blessing of the fleet and continues on Tuesday, January 6 with Epiphany Services, Procession, Cross Dive and Glendi Celebration.  More>>

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    27


    NFL Preview - Buffalo (1-1) at N.Y. Jets (1-1)



    By Lyle Fitzsimmons, Contributing NFL Editor

    (Sports Network) - Forget Rookie Bowl and call this one Chip on the Shoulder Bowl.

    At least for New York Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith, who gets his first professional crack Sunday at the passer he initially felt grabbed that 2013 draft day glory that should have been his -- Buffalo rookie E.J. Manuel.

    The two were acquaintances after meeting at a schoolboy football camp and occasionally dueled for college headlines while Smith starred at West Virginia and Manuel did likewise with Florida State.

    When April came, both were first-round prospects. But only Manuel emerged with the prized "first-round pick" tag, going to the Bills with the 16th pick. Smith, who'd once entertained dreams of going first overall, instead slipped to the second round, where the Jets got him with pick No. 39.

    The unforeseen slippage made Smith the 2013 incarnation of the player whom cameras are trained on as a fantasy of instant recognition gradually shifts to "please, someone call my name."

    But five months later, he claims the scars have healed.

    "I congratulated (Manuel) and that was it," Smith said. "I was happy for him. I was happy for every single guy that got drafted. I'm past that now. I hate to talk about it because I'm focusing on what we have here, which is a great opportunity, good team and we've got a tough matchup coming up on Sunday."

    It's the first time in the six-decade series between the Bills and Jets that both teams will start a first-year QB, both of whom have endured a close loss to New England and a stirring comeback win -- Buffalo against Carolina, New York against Tampa Bay -- in their initial two games as pros.

    But if you think years-old friendship will play a role, think again.

    "E.J.'s a great guy," Smith said. "He's accomplished a bunch in his career and I think the world of him. He's also my good friend, so it's good to compete against a guy like that. But when it comes down to Sunday, there are no friends on the field. We're out there competing for our teams and that's all there really is to it."

    Manuel concurred, sounding like a veteran in pointing out the significance of a divisional win and the importance of avoiding a two-game deficit after just three weeks.

    "This is a huge game for us," he said. "It's on the road and it's a divisional game and it's definitely a game we need to win. We both lost to the Patriots and early on you don't want to get behind in the season. It just adds even more urgency."

    Because both teams were in the draft-day market for quarterbacks, neither passer is a stranger to the other team's coaching staff.

    "You notice the physical when (Manuel) walks in the door. He fills up that doorway," Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "He was really a tremendous person and you can see why Buffalo's excited about him."

    The excitement reached fever pitch last week when the Bills defeated the Panthers, 24-23, thanks to Manuel's two-yard TD pass to Stevie Johnson with two seconds to play -- finishing off an 80-yard drive and making Manuel just the fifth rookie to engineer a fourth-quarter comeback since 1960.

    His predecessor on that list was Smith, whose Jets beat the Buccaneers, 18-17, on a Nick Folk field goal with two seconds remaining. He misfired in a chance for two straight late rallies, however, and instead threw three fourth-quarter interceptions in a 13-10 loss at New England last week.

    "(Smith has) always been able to make every throw, he's always had a high level of accuracy," Bills coach Doug Marrone said. "I see him going through progressions and I see him talking with protection. You're seeing that he's developing into a fine quarterback. He's going to create some challenges for our defense."

    Smith was the first QB in eight years to overcome a nine-point deficit in his first game. Manuel is the first in 53 years to have a passer rating of 89.0 or better in his first two games.

    "Both players were poised," Ryan said. "E.J. was impressive. Geno was for the most part, as well."

    Neither, however, are comfortable framing the matchup as solely a battle of passers.

    "That mindset would be selfish," Smith said. "It's about this team. It's about all of us going out there and getting a win for each other."

    WHAT TO WATCH FOR

    The obvious matchup for the Jets defense against the Bills offense focuses on handling Manuel, but the real key is putting a hold on running back C.J. Spiller. New York has been successful in limiting feature backs through the first two weeks, but Spiller is among the league's best, and, if the Jets go all in to stop him, it could indeed create openings for an elusive Manuel.

    You can bet Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, who held that role for three seasons under Ryan in New York, has been working long nights in the laboratory to concoct the right scheme to blunt his former boss. Expect it to feature varied fronts and timely blitzes to confound Geno Smith, who showed some tendency to make mistakes in the late going against the Patriots.

    OVERALL ANALYSIS

    Both are 1-1 and neither is expected to seriously contend for a playoff berth, but the first two weeks did show at least some separation.

    The Bills have more high-end talent on offense -- Spiller and Johnson, for example -- and Manuel has certainly looked the part for two games. Smith has been less consistent and the last quarter in New England left an ugly taste. Until proven otherwise, Manuel gets the close nod.

    Sports Network predicted outcome: Bills 20, Jets 19.

    09/19 13:23:33 ET

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    Welcome to Great38 Tampa Bay WTTA-TV/DT - WFLA News Channel 8

    Welcome to Great38 Tampa Bay WTTA-TV/DT - WFLA News Channel 8

      Great 38: Win tickets to Daytona 500

      Updated:

      Here's your chance to win tickets to the 2015 Daytona 500. Entering is easy, simply fill out the entry form included. More>>

      • Great Stuff

      News Now: Media General CEO talks about his career, future for company Video included

      Updated:

      In December, LIN Media and Media General merged to create the second largest broadcasting company in the country. The former CEO and President of LIN Media, Vince Sadusky, was placed at the helm of the new and improved Media General. More>>

      Bill Schifino, Jr talks about being President-Elect of the Florida Bar Video included

      Updated:

      Earlier this month, Bill Schifino, Jr. was announced as the 2015-16 President-Elect of the Florida Bar. Schifino comes to this position with a strong resume. More>>

      Trio sets off on 900 mile trek across Florida Video included

      Updated:

      Joe Guthrie, Mallory Lykes Dimmitt, and Carlton Ward Jr. are embarking on a journey of a lifetime. The trio are setting off on a 70-day, 900 mile trek across the state???without any automobiles.
      More>>

      How this guide dog helps one blind triathlete chase her Paralympic dream

      Updated:

      Every time Paralympic hopeful Amy Dixon makes it to the end of another grueling triathlon, she knows her trusty companion will be waiting for her at the finish line. Sixteen years after she lost vision in her right eye, which she says she viewed as "a death sentence" at the time,  More>>

      Legoland Florida hotel to open in spring; built for kids

      LEGOLAND Florida photo LEGOLAND Florida photo
      Updated:

      Legoland Florida Hotel will welcome its first guests a month earlier than previously expected.During an announcement Thursday, Legoland executives announced May 15 as the revised opening date.  More>>

      3 rhinos escape from safari zoo, return safely Video included

      Updated:

      Three rhinoceroses escaped from their site at a safari zoo in Israel this week, NBC reported.  More>>

      VIRAL VIDEO: Bossy 4-year-old girl feeds 6 pit bull dogs

      Little Girl Controls Pit Bull Dogs | Future Dog Trainer, Jukin Video on YouTube Little Girl Controls Pit Bull Dogs | Future Dog Trainer, Jukin Video on YouTube
      Updated:

      A video of a very authoritative 4-year-old girl feeding six very obedient pit pulls in the middle of a kitchen has gone viral on the web and is prompting a heated debate about the pit bull breed.
      More>>

      8 fun things to do in Tampa Bay this weekend | January 17-18 Video included

      Updated:

      See 8 fun things happening this weekend in Tampa Bay!
      More>>

      'Birdman,' 'Budapest' top Oscar nominations with 9 nods each

      Updated:

      Two extravagant comedies, "Birdman" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel," tied for the most Oscar nominations Thursday morning with nine nods each, including best picture. More>>

      109th Tarpon Springs Epiphany: Schedule of Events, Road Closures

      TARPON SPRINGS EPIPHANY CELEBRATION 2011 photo by Sue Thomas TARPON SPRINGS EPIPHANY CELEBRATION 2011 photo by Sue Thomas
      Updated:

      The 109th Epiphany celebration begins Monday, January 5 with the Arrival of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios and the blessing of the fleet and continues on Tuesday, January 6 with Epiphany Services, Procession, Cross Dive and Glendi Celebration.  More>>

      Out and About
      Powered by WorldNow

      200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

      Telephone: 813.228.8888
      Fax: 813.225.2770
      Email: news@wfla.com

      Can???t find something?
      Powered by WorldNow
      All content © Copyright 2000 - 2015 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.