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The injury-plagued New York Jets were dead and buried with just one win in their first seven games - but a 17-7 win over NFL East rivals Buffalo has resurrected their play-off hopes.

The injury-plagued New York Jets were dead and buried with just one win in their first seven games - but a 17-7 win over NFL East rivals Buffalo has resurrected their play-off hopes.

New York, who endured an early campaign of chaos after losing Vinny Testaverde for the year with a ruptured Achilles, have ridden the unheralded arm of quarterback Ray Lucas and used a suffocating defence to get back in the hunt for a place in the post-season.

Lucas, given the nod by coach Bill Parcells two weeks ago to replace Testaverde's ineffective back-up Rick Mirer, engineered yesterday's win - New York's third on the trot - by completing an efficient 16 of 20 passes for 142 yards.

He also scrambled for a nine-yard touchdown.

"There's definitely a heart of a champion on this team," said Lucas, who had primarily been used as a special teams players on kick-offs and punts before being handed the starting job.

The defence, which twice intercepted Bills signal-caller Doug Flutie and also recovered a fumble in the end zone for a score, has allowed a paltry 700 yards in total offence to Arizona, New England and now Buffalo.

"We're still in it ... six in a row," said Jets strong safety Victor Green, who intercepted his fourth pass of the season when he picked off Flutie just as Buffalo was about to score before half-time.

"It's a long road, but I think these last two weeks have told our team what I keep telling them - that it's too soon to quit, and now you know why I talk like that, because it is. There's lot of football left," Parcells said."

The Jets face the ultimate test next week when they travel to Indianapolis, who claimed their sixth scalp in a row with a 44-17 humiliation of Philadelphia. Rookie sensation Edgerrin James ran for 152 yards and two touchdowns and caught a touchdown throw from Peyton Manning, who completed 16-of-26 for 223 yards and three touchdowns.

Miami bounced back from their loss at Buffalo with a 27-17 win at the New England Patriots but quarterback Damon Huard, playing in place of injured Dolphins star Dan Marino, suffered a broken nose after throwing for 131 yards and two touchdowns.

Huard will play on Thanksgiving day on Thursday at Dallas, who were beaten at Arizona yesterday 13-9.

Jacksonville grabbed their seventh straight win and ninth of the season with a 41-23 thrashing of New Orleans. Tennessee, trailing the Jags by a game in the AFC Central and also steaming towards the post-season, slipped past Pittsburgh 16-10.

Seattle and their first-year coach Mike Holmgren beat Kansas City 31-19 for their fifth straight triumph to stay in the driver's seat in the AFC West.

St Louis piled on the agony for San Francisco 23-7, giving the 49ers their sixth consecutive defeat and all but eliminating them from the play-off contention.

Washington reclaimed sole possession of first place in the NFC East by beating the New York Giants 23-13.

Stephen Davis rushed for a career-best 183 yards. The Redskins defence, despite being ranked last in total defence, forced five turnovers.

Carolina kept their slim post-season hopes alive by beating Cleveland 31-17. Green Bay, desperate to get their season back on track, evened their record at five wins and five defeats by beating Detroit 26-17.

Baltimore edged Cincinnati 34-31 with a last-second 50-yard field goal Matt Stover.

Tampa Bay struggled but finally defeated Atlanta 19-10. Chicago remained in the thick of the NFC Central race with the Packers, Minnesota, Detroit and Tampa Bay with a 23-20 win over San Diego in over-time.

Denver host Oakland tonight.

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