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How can the New York Jets knock off Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills to clinch a playoff spot?
Joe Caporoso – The Jets are the better football team by a substantial margin coming into this match-up. I say that because in the previous game, they were without Calvin Pryor, Bilal Powell and Quincy Enunwa. They were also still playing Demario Davis and Quinton Coples increased reps and not using Lorenzo Mauldin or Erin Henderson. In this upcoming game, the Bills will be without Charles Clay, LeSean McCoy, Stephen Gilmore, Robert Woods, and potentially Ronald Darby, Marcell Dareus and Nigel Bradham. The Jets were negative four in the turnover battle in their 22-17 loss to Buffalo and were a Kellen Davis turn away from winning. There is a reason the Jets have won five straight the Bills have stumbled down the stretch.
Rex Ryan is going to go “kitchen sink” in this game. Look back at the Jets in week 17 the previous two years against Miami: toss passes, fake punts, fake field goals, repeatedly going for it on fourth down. The only way the Jets put themselves at risk of losing this game is if they are gashed by plays like this or make another killer special teams mistake. A big play or an early lead for Buffalo will get the crowd and team into the game. However, if the Jets can start fast and get themselves a 10-0 or 13-0 type lead, it wouldn’t be shocking to see this Bills team fold like a house of cards. Start fast and put the foot on their throat.
The Jets did a great job containing Tyrod Taylor in the previous game and can now roll their entire secondary focus to Watkins with Buffalo’s supporting cast banged up. Keep him in the pocket and make him move off his first read. On offense and special teams, protect the football and pick on a banged up and inconsistent secondary. The Bills are 29th in Defensive DVOA, after being 2nd last year. This is not a good defense…not even close, really. Play aggressive and attack down the field.Anthony Cappuccino – Win and we’re in. Extremely fitting for it to be Rex Ryan’s underachieving Bill’s team standing in the way of a Jets postseason birth for the first time in 5 years. In this year’s earlier matchup, the Jets were banged up. They were missing Pryor, Cromartie, Powell, and Enunwa (suspension), who have all become integral parts of this 5 game winning streak. The Bills however, will be without three of their stars on Sunday in McCoy, Clay, and Robert Woods.
For the Jets to get into the postseason dance, they need to get start fast to gash the remaining fight the Buffalo Bills have left. This is Rex Ryan’s “Super Bowl”, which has oddly been coming in Week 17 the past three seasons. Rex Ryan’s Week 17 “already eliminated” games when he was leading the Jets and the Bills are very different though. When he was coaching Gang Green, his players still adored him and left it all on the field in playing the spoiler role a few years in a row in the last week of the season. However, in his first disappointing season with Buffalo, that may not be the case. The Bills players, as brought to attention many times this season, are not satisfied with the job Rex has done. If the Jets can start fast, which they have had some trouble doing this year, they can take away any hope the Bills have left.
If the Jets are to get out to a fast start, it must start with the running game. Over the past few weeks, unfortunately, we have seen why the Jets cannot pay Chris Ivory big money. He’s struggled mightily to get anything going but Gang Green needs him badly for this last push. The punishing style that Ivory brings to the table is perfect for this game. If Ivory can get into a rhythm early and finish his runs by consistently delivering blows to Bills defenders, they will fold. et’s face it, nobody wants to tackle a 225lb running back in below freezing temperatures when they have nothing to play for. This, and a heightened sense for ball security from Fitzpatrick and company, are huge for a Jets win. Gifting the Bills points and short fields in Week 10 doomed the Jets. Fitz, Marshall, and Decker need to protect the ball first, and continue their record breaking season. P.S, Please Todd Bowles’ defense, don’t allow Rex Ryan to fool you with his trickery, you know it’s coming.
David Aitken – For some it might feel like forever ago when the Jets lost to Buffalo at home. For me though, I can remember this loss like it just happened. The game was so “Rex” in every way, from he coming in and getting his emotional personal Super Bowl victory to the Jets themselves putting in a performance reminiscent of ones that got Rex Ryan fired in the first place. The defense had to play the heroes while the offense sputtered, play calling was called into question, and the Jets were killed in the turnover battle. And yet, somehow, there were still several opportunities to win the game and the team lost by only five points despite losing 5-1 in the turnover department.The earlier matchup was easily Brandon Marshall’s worst performance as a Jet, and the team’s star players failing to perform to their standard was one of the main issues of that whole period of losses. Marshall comes into this game hot, but the biggest difference of late is the contributions in the passing game from other than the “big two.” One thing the Jets did do well in that game was curtail Buffalo’s offense, which only really scored 13 points, factoring in 9 points from a special teams touchdown and a Chris Ivory fumble that placed Buffalo in field goal range. This hopefully can continue with the Bills likely to be missing LeSean McCoy in addition to Charles Clay, although the Taylor-Watkins combination has been a huge threat of late.
Anyone who reads this site is probably already familiar with Rex Ryan’s putrid record with the Jets in games played after victories, and it has continued with Buffalo. Funny enough though, the one game where he did managed to win back-to-back was in this same matchup earlier. I have thought a lot about what type of performance Bills players are going to put in for Rex Ryan in essentially a meaningless game for them (I can see either of the two extremes – an extremely tough test or a gift-wrapped playoff appearance), but the truth is it doesn’t matter what they do. The way the Jets are playing right now, and the state these two teams are in at the moment, it is the Jets’ game to lose. Take care of the football, limit the Buffalo big passing play, and convert red zone opportunities.
John Hargaden – I think when we all looked at the schedule this year, there was a thought this last game of the season was going to be critical and just not because of playing Rex again. It is very simple Jets fans, win and we are going back to the playoffs for the first time in 5 long seasons.
As I take a look at the game in November, Jets had some mistakes on both sides of the football early and they were not able to make a complete comeback. The goal here coming into Sunday is clear, hit the Bills in the mouth early. This Jets team has come together in the last month and are healthy across the board. I am expecting Ryan Fitzpatrick to have a big game, look for Eric Decker to work the middle of the field, which has always been a Rex Ryan weakness.
The Jets defense must limit the big pass plays that Buffalo tries. It will be interesting to see how the Bills try to use Sammy Watkins. The Bills placed TE Charles Clay on IR and there is a chance LeSean McCoy could be out on Sunday. This Jets defense has improved across the board in the last 6 games. Look for the defensive line to cause havoc early and often on Sunday. Book it right now, Lorenzo Mauldin will have at least 2 sacks. Are you ready Jets Nation?
Joe Malfa – Pretty much everything that can possibly be said about this game has been said by my colleagues, so here is just a quick recap: the Jets come into the game with a clean bill of health, while the Bills will send a MASH unit to the field; the Jets are simply the better football team; Rex will have his team fired up, so a fast start is necessary to quell the Bills and the crowd. As long as the Jets do not lay an egg, they should stampede the Bills in Buffalo on Sunday.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com