Christopher Gardella Game Previews

Jets – Bills Preview

By Christopher Gardella  New York Jets (1-1) at Buffalo Bills (1-1)  
J.P. Losman’s first two seasons with the Bills have been anything but stable for the Tulane alumni. His rookie year was shortened after a collision with Troy Vincent left Losman with a broken left leg. The following year, Losman won the starting job in training camp but was replaced by Kelly Holcomb in week five after three dreadful performances. All the while, Losman spent his nights living in a rented apartment in downtown Buffalo. The Chippewa district offered plenty of distractions for the young bachelor: a happening nightlife, beautiful women, celebrity status – everything a young man with a large rookie-contract could want was within his reach. But it appeared that Losman’s stay in The City of Lights would be a short one. Struggling on the field, Losman’s future in Buffalo was uncertain, to say the least. Renting was definitely a good choice for the young man. 

But Losman had other ideas. Ignoring his uncertain future, the overly confident third-year pro contacted local real estate agents about purchasing a house in Buffalo. And that’s just what he did. In Losman’s mind, Buffalo was the site of a better future, not a tarnished past.     WHEN THE JETS HAVE THE BALL:  Despite their inability to move the chains running the ball, Brian Schottenheimer is committed to keeping defenses honest by pounding the ball between the tackles. The interior offensive line of the Jets has failed to move defenders off the ball, which has left little running room for Kevan Barlow and Derrick Blaylock. The Jets’ running backs should see more running room against the Bills, whose interior defensive line is marginal, at best. The Jets have been pass-happy in the first two games but will try to take control of the game by running the ball. Windy conditions at Ralph Wilson and a Buffalo defense that is yielding more than 135 yards per game will force the Jets to go to Barlow early and often. The Buffalo pass defense is the best the Jets have faced all year. All-Pro cornerback Nate Clements will follow Laveranues Coles (should he play) around the field, hoping to shut down Pennington’s favorite target. Testing Bills’ safety Donte Whitner on deep routes will be a priority for Pennington and the Jets. Whitner has played well early in his rookie campaign – however, he’s still raw and may be vulnerable to giving up the big play.
WHEN THE BILLS HAVE THE BALL:  The Bills’ philosophy on offense is simple: pound Willis McGahee. Dick Jauron has cracked the whip on J.P. Losman this season and doesn’t seem likely to loosen it up any time soon. The Bills’ passing attack is one of the worst in the NFL despite boasting a quality receiving corps. Lee Evans, Peerless Price, and Rosco Parrish all have speed to burn, and are always a threat deep. Stopping the run is priority number one for the Jets. In their last three meeting with the Bills, Willis McGahee has averaged 130 yards per game. The Jets have struggled against the run this season and will be subject to a pounding if McGahee gets going. If the Jets are able to get ahead early, McGahee can be neutralized by forcing the Bills to go to the air. Eric Mangini will disguise his schemes to confuse the inexperienced Losman, who has had trouble making proper reads in the past. The Jets’ coaching staff wants to put this game in Losman’s hands, not McGahee.
MATCHUP TO WATCH:  Jonathan Vilma vs. Willis McGahee: The outcome of this game will be decided by McGahee’s ability to control the game offensively. McGahee’s bruising running style has caused problems for Vilma and company in previous meetings.  

PREDICTION Jets 17-14 I’m going against my gut instinct on this one. The Jets always play poorly in Buffalo, but they’re under a new regime and will pull out a close one.

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