On Thursday night, 8:20 pm EST, the (5-6) New York Jets take on the (4-7) Buffalo Bills in Toronto, Canada. While some may think this game is meaningless, there are possible playoff implications for both teams, as the wildcard spot remains up for grabs in the AFC. These two teams last met in week 6, where Buffalo capitalized on a litany of Jets mistakes to win 16-13 in overtime. Lets see how they match-up in week 13.
Jets Offense vs. Bills Defense
The last time these two teams played the Jets offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage with Gang Green rushing for over 300 yards. While the same performance is not expected the Jets will look to control the line of scrimmage and move the chains by running the ball. If the running game can be effective, Mark Sanchez can then manage the offense with the short passing attack and the play action pass. One thing to keep an eye on is the health of Mark Sanchez. Sanchez “tweaked” his knee in his last week’s victory over the Carolina Panthers, and based on whom you believe has been somewhat gimpy in practice. If Mark’s knee becomes bothersome and limits his mobility, the Jets passing game could really struggle.
Other than the Jets being able to effectively run the ball, another key for the offense is to stop turning over the ball. Whether it is interceptions or fumbles, the Jets have to stop shooting themselves in the foot with these costly mistakes. It is great to control the ball, as well as the time of possession, but if no points are put in the board it means nothing. Just look back to the week 6 game.
Key Stat – Jets rushing offense ranked 2nd in the NFL averaging 161 yards per game vs. Buffalo rush defense ranked last in the NFL giving up 165 yards per game.
Jets Defense vs. Bills Offense
Under new coach Perry Fewell the Buffalo Bills have opened up their offense and have started to put points up on the board. The bulk of the resurgence has to be pinned on Ryan Fitzpatrick and Terrell Owens who are finding ways to make big plays. While the Bills try to run the ball with Fred Jackson, the key to their success is getting the ball down the field to their wideouts. The goal for the Jets defense is to make the Buffalo offense one-dimensional by completely stifling the running game. This includes keeping quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in the pocket. The Buffalo signal caller has a knack for making plays with his feet and the Jets needs to keep an eye on him. If the Jets are able to shut down the ground game, Gang Green should be able to slow down Terrell Owens with All-Pro corner Darrelle Revis following him all over the field. Shutting down Owens, especially early on in the game, is very important for the Jets. Terrell is a very emotional player and loves the spotlight of playing in front of a national audience. If the Jets can slow Owens down in the first half of the game, he will become very frustrated and start to become a distraction while disrupting the offense. Before you know it Fitzpatrick will try to force passes his way and the Jets should be able to take advantage.
If the Jets have any pride or character they will be out to avenge their embarrassing week 6 loss to the Bills. Add in the fact that Gang Green remarkably remains in the hunt for a playoff spot, and the Jets should come up with a big time performance. In typical Jet fashion the game will be too close for comfort, but in the end they find a way to win. Jets 21-17
For the remainder of my week 13 predictions click here.