This week, TNF has a game that I am actually interested in as just a casual fan. Bills vs. Jets could have actual playoff implications. If Buffalo loses, they fall to 4-5, and most likely be sitting at 8th or 9th in the playoff standings for the AFC. They would be behind the Jets, Steelers, and possibly the Raiders. If the Bills win, they would be tied with the Jets for second in the AFC East, and most likely be tied for a wild card spot, depending on how a couple games play out this weekend. For the Jets, a win would further solidify their position as a wild card team, and would give them a key win over another team also in the playoff hunt. If they were to lose, they would step back into the pack of three or four teams vying for the two wild card spots.
This game means a lot more to the Bills, at least in my opinion, and that’s without including the Rex Ryan factor. That’s right, Ryan is making his return to New York(really New Jersey) since being fired by the Jets. Quick side note, I hate things like that. Of course it is Ryan’s first trip back since being fired, HE WAS FIRED 11 MONTHS AGO!! I get that headlines like that can spike some interest, I just think that they are lazy. Anyway, this is probably a game that Ryan REALLY wants to win. Hell, he is making IK Enemkpali a captain to troll the Jets, but doing stuff like that is not new for Ryan. This game means more for the Bills because although it may not be a loser leaves town match, the Bills really need to win this game. With that said…
Nearly all of the key players for this game who were injured are expected to play today. Brandon Marshall, Chris Ivory, Sammy Watkins, LeSean McCoy are all listed as probable so this both of these teams should be fully healthy and ready to go. Hopefully, Ryan Fitzpatrick’s thumb does not get any worse because if it does, allstar Geno Smith will need to play downs for the Jets. That would be problematic for the Jets. Granted we don’t know what Smith looks like with Marshall and Decker to throw to, but we do know that Geno is not a good NFL QB.
Each of these teams likes to run the football. the Bills have one of the best rushing offenses in the NFL, ranking 2nd in rushing yards per game and 3rd in DVOA. The Jets rank 14th in rushing yards per game, but come in at 21st in DVOA. Unfortunately for the Bills, the Jets have the best rushing defense in the league, ranking tops in DVOA in that category. The Bills meanwhile are one of the worst teams in the league when it comes to stopping the run. Look for a good game from Chris Ivory.
The Jets will most likely sell out to stop the run, as both Shady McCoy and Karlos Williams have been pretty good so far this season. That means that a lot of whether the Bills can win or not will depend on how well Tyrod Taylor plays. The Jets have one of the best passing defenses in the league, but will probably be without Antonio Cromartie who is doubtful. Revis will most likely be lined up on Sammy Watkins. The Bills could have trouble moving the ball against the Jets defense.
For the Jets, their offensive line has not done a great job at opening up holes for Chris Ivory so far this year(see: his performance last week), but the Bills do not have a great running defense as said earlier. The passing defense of the Bills is not as great as the Jets, but it is not as good as the Jets. Buffalo is actually pretty good at shutting down the opposing teams best receiver, and is just outside the top ten when it comes to stopping the opposing teams #2 receiver.
This is a game where I think that Ryan Fitzpatrick actually shows up and plays well. The Jets are just so solid defensively that I think that they can shut down the Bills rushing attack for the most part, and limit Watkins. This will make things very difficult for the Bills to move the ball on offense. The Jets will have a ground and pound attack in this game, very similar to the way Ryan’s Jets teams played in the early 2010’s. The Jets will get the win, and further solidify their spot as a wildcard team.
Ted Van Green(@TVG_5)
Spark Sports NFL Analyst