TJ Rosenthal: Jets Win If – They stop Fred Jackson. The Bills offense can be contained in the air for two reasons. First, their WR combo of Stevie Johnson and David Nelson won’t stand a chance to Darrelle Revis should the Jets choose to lock either one of them up. The Bills TE Scott Chandler has 6 TD’s but has been targeted just 18 times all season. The Jets get exposed when TE’s force safeties up in coverage. By shutting down the passing game the Jets can attend to Jackson who has been rushing for 5.5 yards per carry (132-721 yds).
We expect a balance on offense for the Jets with Shonn Greene being effective. The Bills defense has allowed 4.9 yards per carry to opposing backs and Greene is coming off his best three games of the season (62-269 yds 4.3 avg). Look for Holmes to breakout or contribute greatly this week in a winning scenario. The media spotlight on his “happiness” will only add motivation.
The Jets Lose If: They can’t stop Jackson and Mark Sanchez throws too many interceptions. His 5 INT game against the Bills as a rookie is a mere coincidence for this concept. Our point is, if Sanchez even manages this game, then Greene can burn down some clock so the Bills can’t put up their 30 point average. However, if Fred Jackson helps open up the Bills offense for QB Ryan Fitzpatrick by keeping Rex honest and backed off of the line of scrimmage, then a poor decision making game by the Jets QB could be enough for Buffalo to tip the scales. Even in a game played by both teams scoring in the low 20’s. Containing Jackson, while protecting the ball on their own half of the field is the way to get out of Buffalo alive. Even WITH the understanding that attacking downfield must be mixed in by Schotty at times.
Chris Celletti: If the Jets have proved anything under Rex Ryan, it is that they play their best when their backs are against the wall. I don’t think I’m being overly dramatic when I say that their season rests on what they do Sunday in Buffalo. A loss is potentially crippling with the Patriots coming to town in Week 10. The Jets simply have to win this game, and I think they respond. It will hinge a lot on the Jets’ offense, an offense that simply has to put up points to beat the Bills. Buffalo has been very good on offense all year, with Fred Jackson being one of the best backs in football, and the Jets’ run defense having been suspect. On the other hand, Buffalo’s defense is statistically one of the worst in football.
I expect the Jets to give a healthy dose of Shonn Greene to try and control the clock and keep Ryan Fitzpatrick on the sideline (who would have ever thought that would be the strategy against the Bills?) In the end, I think the Jets make just enough plays on both sides of the ball, perhaps forcing a few key turnovers as the defense steps up in the second half. The Jets set up a showdown with the Patriots as they knock off Buffalo, 26-20.
Rob Celletti: Following the Jets in the Rex Ryan era, there have been a lot of stories written about the dangers of a team that “believes its own hype” and its eventual downfall. Strangely, this week could potentially flip the script. Yes, the Jets got some of their swagger back before last week’s bye, but is there a sexier team than the Buffalo Bills in 2011? Media and casual fans are enamored, and the team’s confidence couldn’t be higher. Well, that all comes crashing down to earth this week for the Western New Yorkers.
There will apparently be a “white out” at Ralph Wilson Stadium, with the home fans matching the home team’s all-white get-up. But the Jets have not only played in, but thrived in more hostile atmospheres. I expect the road warrior Jets of 2009 and 2010 to show up big for this game. Buffalo is 4-0 in home games (including last week’s Toronto game), the Jets are 0-3 on the road. As Michael Kay would say, “Do you believe in ‘due’?”
Do not forget that the Jets have embarrassed this Bills over the past few seasons with a relentless rushing attack, and I expect Shonn Greene to rack up another 100+ yard performance and punctuate it with a score or two. Joe McKnight will be dangerous as well. Santonio Holmes is also going to reel in a touchdown and post close to 100 receiving yards. The Jets’ defense will shut down Ryan Fitzpatrick’s receivers, and they’ll pick off the Harvard man once or twice and turn it into points the other way.
The Bills have been a good football team, and I don’t mean to disparage them, but they’ve benefited from some pretty fortunate bounces (see the multiple interception games by Mike Vick and Tom Brady, for example). I just have a feeling that their luck runs out this week, just as the Jets start to get rolling.
The game will seem close, but Mark Sanchez will throw a late touchdown to Dustin Keller to put this game on ice. Jets 31, Bills 20.