On Sunday the New York Jets (10-5) finish up the regular season as they take on the Buffalo Bills (4-11) at the New Meadowlands Stadium (1pm EST). The Jets enter the game a banged up unit with an eye on their playoff match-up next weekend, while the Bills are trying to finish up the season winning 3 of their last 4 games.
Before we go into some of the keys to the game, the number one goal for the Jets on Sunday is to come out injury free. While it is always important to try and win the game, it is twice as important to be rested and energized heading into the playoffs. I would be shocked to see any of the starters play into the second half of the game. With that being said here are some players to keep an eye on this Sunday.
Joe McKnight- There is a very good chance that rookie running back Joe McKnight will get a substantial amount of touches on Sunday. McKnight has been playing very well on special teams and it will be interesting to see how effective he can be in the running game. Keep in mind that Buffalo has one of the worst rush defenses in the NFL, so the Jets should have some success on the ground.
Mark Brunell- The veteran quarterback should get some serious playing time on Sunday as the Jets are going to rest quarterback Mark Sanchez. Can Brunell manage the game and keep the offense rolling? Your guess is as good as mine.
Vlad Ducasse- The rookie offensive lineman should get a decent amount of playing time on Sunday, which will give the kid a chance to show much progress he has made this season. Ducasse, the Jets second round pick in 2010, has been considered by some to be a project, but hopefully he can hold his own on Sunday.
Kyle Wilson- There is a very good chance that the Jets will rest starting defensive backs Antonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis, leaving rookie Kyle Wilson front and center in the secondary. Wilson has struggled this season and the Jets really need the young db to step up his game as Gang Green prepares for the playoffs.
Isaiah Trufant- At 5’8, 175 pounds, Trufant does not bring ideal size to the defensive back position, but he makes up for it with his speed. On Sunday the Jets will give Isaiah plenty of opportunities to make the postseason roster as Gang Green’s secondary has been decimated by injuries and poor play.
Vernon Gholston- Could this be the game where Vernon Gholston gets his first career sack? Gholston could see extensive playing time, especially rushing the passer, so one can only hope that he makes some plays.
Young linebackers- There are several young linebackers on the Jets roster that will have their chance to shine on Sunday. Keep an eye on Jamaal Westerman, Lance Laury, and Josh Mauga to name a few.
While the Jets state that they are not treating this like a preseason game, in many aspects they are. Most of Gang Green’s starters are going to be rested, leaving the outcome of the game in the hands of young, inexperienced players. This could be a sloppy, ugly game to watch and I would not be surprised to see the Jets lose it. For the sake of remaining positive I will go with Gang Green 17-14.