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New York Jets fans have been waiting since January for a game that has some meaning to it and actually counts in the win-loss column. I take a look at the position comparisons between the two teams and give my nod to the better team at each position.
Tyrod Taylor was a question mark up until only a couple of days ago, after being in the concussion protocol. We were that close to a Josh McCown/ Nathan Peterman showdown in Orchard Park. Taylor has been cleared to play and that gives the Bills a clear edge at quarterback. Taylor can make plays with his feet, throws a good deep ball and doesn’t turn the ball over.
Running Back: Bills
I give the edge to the Bills because Todd Bowles still doesn’t realize that he should just give the ball to Bilal Powell and keep Matt Forte on ice until the team can trade him. LeSean McCoy, when healthy, is still a top tier running back. Even if Bowles has realized he should play Powell more, he still wouldn’t utilize him correctly.
Wide Receivers: Jets
This isn’t by a lot but I’ll take a known quantity over a potential quantity in this situation. Jordan Matthews has been hurt for a majority of the offseason and Zay Jones hasn’t played an NFL snap. Robby Anderson, Jermaine Kearse and Jeremy Kearly (while taking reps away from the young guys) should have a good amount of success against the Bills secondary.
Offensive Line: Bills
The Bills offensive line isn’t an eye opening bunch (Tyrod Taylor took a league high 42 sacks last season), but they are certainly leaps and bounds better than the Jets. The Jets offensive line doesn’t even look like it could block someone on Twitter. Until the Jets offensive line can create a push in the running game and give McCown time to throw the ball, I once again give the edge to the Bills.
Tight End: Bills
We’ll see this year under new offensive coordinator John Morton whether or not he utilizes the forgotten position of the Jets. Until we see actual footballs thrown to tight ends and caught by said tight ends, I am giving the advantage to the 31 other teams in the NFL.
Defensive Line: Jets
Shipping to Sheldon Richardson off to the Seahawks certainly hurts the Jets case in this but I still take the Jets DL over the Bills. Leonard Williams is the superstar of this defense and I think Mo Wilkerson has a bounce back year, starting Week 1 in Buffalo. Kony Ealy is a great addition to this group, especially if he can put up even 50% of what his Super Bowl 50 performance was.
The Jets linebacker core got younger, and arguably a little bit faster, this offseason but they still don’t have that edge rusher they’ve been needing for years now. Trotting out a linebacker group of Jordan Jenkins, Josh Martin, Darron Lee and Demario Davis doesn’t scare anyone. I am already having nightmares of Tyrod Taylor lofting the ball to Shady McCoy as Demario Davis trails him by six yards. The Bills lost Zach Brown, which was a huge blow but they are experienced at the position. Buffalo has the edge until this young Jets core can prove otherwise.
This is the biggest toss up. The Jets are trotting out Buster Skrine, who has more holding penalties than impact plays, Morris Claiborne, who hasn’t shown he can play a full NFL season and a bunch of young, unproven guys (Marcus Williams looks like he’ll start deep on the depth chart) at cornerback while starting two rookie safeties. Buffalo isn’t putting a much better group out there, with rookie Tre’Davious White and EJ Gaines manning the cornerback spots and Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer manning the back end of the defense. I’m giving the slight edge to the Jets on this. Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, while rookies, have been promising this preseason (Maye more than Adams) and the Bills receivers strike fear into nobody.
Special Teams: Bills
Brad Smith was the last credible threat for the Jets as a returner. I might be able to punt a ball better than Lachlan Edwards. Chandler Catanzaro shouldn’t even be on the roster.
Head Coach: Jets
The only reason Todd Bowles gets the edge is because he has more experience as a head coach.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com