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Buffalo Bills coach Dick Jauron arrives at his hotel Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2008, in Toronto, where the Bills are scheduled to play a preseason NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday. (AP Photo/David Duprey)

T.O. and the Buffalo Bills are going prime-time in Toronto.

In announcing its schedule on Tuesday, the NFL elected to have the Bills play their second of five annual regular-season games at Toronto by “hosting” the New York Jets Thursday, Dec. 3. It’s a night game between two AFC East rivals and will feature the Bills’ new drawing card, receiver Terrell Owens, who signed with Buffalo in free agency last month.

The game, to be played at the downtown Rogers Centre, is part of a $78 million deal the Bills reached last year with Rogers Communication. It marks the second time Buffalo will lose a home game at Orchard Park to a division rival, after the team opened the international series against Miami last season.

The game will be broadcast on the league-owned NFL Network, which will provide an exclusive national audience across the U.S.

Bills fans aren’t expected to be happy with the league scheduling Buffalo to play another division rival at Toronto. Fans last year complained that Buffalo lost an edge in playing the Dolphins at Toronto, because the Rogers Centre proved to be a neutral setting, with nearly a third of the fans rooting for Miami.

The Dolphins took advantage, beating Buffalo 16-3.

Fans also questioned whether the warm-weather Dolphins got a break by getting to play indoors in December, when the wintry conditions at Orchard Park are considered to provide the Bills an edge.

A fan petition to have the Rogers Centre retractable roof opened for the game didn’t get anywhere. Stadium officials said the roof is locked shut after the Blue Jays season and noted facility’s field lacks a proper drainage system.

Bills management has previously said it has no control over the schedule, which is determined by the NFL.

The Bills are the first NFL team to play annual regular-season games outside the United States, part of the franchise’s bid to expand its market north of the border. Toronto is about a two-hour drive from Buffalo and, with a regional population of about 5 million, is North America’s fifth-largest market.

The Bills are coming off their third consecutive 7-9 season and have missed the playoffs for nine straight years — the longest drought in franchise history. Last year was considered a major disappointment, as Buffalo unraveled after getting off to a 5-1 start.

This season, the Bills will play their home-opener in Week 2, hosting Tampa Bay on Sept. 20. The game will mark the Buccaneers first visit to Orchard Park, and only the ninth meeting between the two teams.

The NFL had previously announced the Bills will open the season at New England in a prime-time game on Sept. 14.

Buffalo is scheduled to close the season hosting the Peyton Manning-led Indianapolis Colts on Jan. 3.

The Bills bye week will come in Week 9, Nov. 8. Their schedule is evenly split, with Buffalo playing four home games through the first eight weeks, and four home games through the final eight, including the game at Toronto.

The Bills formally opened the series by defeating Pittsburgh 24-21 in a preseason game in August. The deal with Rogers also includes three preseason games, the next one to be played in Toronto in 2010.

Rogers vice chairman Phil Lind, last year, expressed interest in adding at least one more Bills’ regular-season game before the agreement it has with the team runs out in 2012.

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