On Sunday the (2-1) New York Jets take on the (0-3) Buffalo Bills up at Ralph Wilson Stadium (1pm EST). Gang Green enters the game coming off of two impressive wins over the Dolphins and Patriots, while the Bills are going through somewhat of a transition period. Lets take a look at some of the keys to the game.
Entering Sunday’s game the Buffalo Bills are ranked 27th against the run, and 18th against the pass. Add into the mix that Buffalo will be without defensive starters Marcus Stroud, Andra Davis, and Terrence McGee, and the Jets should be able to bring a well balanced attack to the field.
1) Run to the hills- This is the type of game that I can see the Jets going back to their true “ground and pound” offense. The Jets need to establish their running game early, and wear down a decimated Bills defense. Once the running game gets going, it will take some spirit out of the defense, and the life out of the crowd.
2) Spread the field- The Mark Sanchez to Dustin Keller connection has been very productive the last two weeks and it is only a matter of time before teams start figuring out ways how to stop it. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and quarterback Mark Sanchez must find ways to distribute the ball to different receivers to keep the defense on their toes. At this point wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery has been a forgotten man in the offense.
3) Limit turnovers- Much has been made about the dreadful 5 interception game Mark Sanchez had last year against Buffalo. This is a different year, and a different quarterback, but the premise remains the same. Sanchez must continue to make smart decisions with the football, and not force his throws.
Fun Facts: Dating back to last season the Jets are seeking their 5th consecutive regular season road victory. Running back LaDainian Tomlinson is seeking his 4th game in a row with a rush of over 20 yards.
The Buffalo offense has started out slow (ranked last in total offense), which resulted in a quarterback change to Ryan Fitzpatrick. Last week against the Patriots Fitzpatrick threw for 247 yards, which gave life to the running game with running back Marshawn Lynch racking up 156 yards. (Note: The Jets will be without Darrelle Revis, Calvin Pace, and Jamaal Westerman as they have been ruled out for the game)
1) Stop the run- As with most teams the first step for the Jets is to stop the running game in order to put pressure on Fitzpatrick to make plays. Gang Green must control the line of scrimmage and keep an eye on rookie C.J. Spiller who can be a very explosive threat out of the backfield.
2) Collapse the pocket- The Jets must get pressure on Ryan Fitzpatrick in order to make him uncomfortable in the pocket. Whether it is in the form of hits on the quarterback, sacks, or tipped balls, Gang Green must find ways to disrupt the passing game early on. The last thing the Jets want to see is Ryan getting in rhythm as it will give the entire Bills offense a ton of confidence.
3) Prevent the big play- The Buffalo Bills are playing with nothing to lose, so they may be willing to completely open the playbook against the rival Jets. Gang Green must limit the big plays, especially in the passing game where wide receiver Lee Evans is still a legitimate threat.
Fun Facts: Jason Taylor has 20 sacks against the Bills, the most against any team. Taylor is looking for his 3rd straight game with a sack.
Coming off of two huge wins against the Patriots and Dolphins, the Jets will suffer a bit of an emotional letdown. To me it is almost a good thing that the game is being played on the road, as the rowdy atmosphere at Paul Wilson will get the Jets going early on. I think the Jets will be very successful running the ball and will cruise to a 27-14 victory.