Well folks, the Jets are who we thought they were. After a three game mirage winning streak, the team has lost three straight while having the lead in every single game. This week they take on the Buffalo Bills, who they lost to Week One in Buffalo, in their only primetime appearance this year. I take a look at how each team stacks up against one another.
I so badly wanted Tyrod Taylor to be the Jets starting quarterback. You could argue that they’d be 5-3 or even 6-2 if he were at the helm instead of Josh McCown. He controls the game, doesn’t turn the ball over and has the ability to extend plays when needed. McCown can do none of those things. It’s mind boggling that the Bills even flirted with letting him walk this offseason before eventually restructuring his deal and keeping him. He routinely gives the Jets fits with his ability to extend plays outside of the pocket while beating the Jets deep and over the middle when he stays in the pocket.
Josh McCown is the greatest quarterback in the history of football…if we are looking at the first drives of games this season. Other than that, he’s Ryan Fitzpatrick-esque without the high interception numbers. McCown does however throw the same boneheaded interceptions at crucial times in games. He also can’t seem to do anything when the game hits the fourth quarter and the Jets have the lead. Some of that can be attributed to play calling but you still have to make plays when the opportunities present themselves. He doesn’t do that.
Running Back: Bills
LeSean McCoy shredded the Jets defense in their first matchup, running over the Jets defense to a tune of 110 yards on 22 carries (5.0 YPC). He got whatever he wanted to against the Jets and probably could have run for many more yards. He’s very shifty in the open field and has the chance to break a two yard loss into 12 yard gain with one cut. He can also hurt you in the receiving game (5 receptions for 49 yards in Week One). The Jets will have to wrap up and even gang tackle to make sure he doesn’t extend plays.
The Jets can’t seem to get any resemblance of a run game going. Matt Forte wants the Jets to not stray from running the ball yet he’s averaging 3.8 yards per carry with only 164 yards of rushing. Bilal Powell has shown he can be the number one back when he rushes but when he gets put into that role, he gets hurt. Elijah McGuire hasn’t done anything besides have a long run against the Jaguars in Week 4.
Wide Receivers: Jets
The one area where the Bills lack talent is at wide receiver. They made a move to acquire Kelvin Benjamin from the Panthers on Tuesday but his role will most likely be limited against the Jets. Their supposed top option Jordan Matthews has only 15 catches on the year and the next highest guy is Andre Holmes with 11 catches. LeSean McCoy has the most receptions on the season as their running back. These receivers look better than they are because of how Tyrod Taylor extends plays.
Robby Anderson has become a legitimate receiver. He’s shown he can beat just about anyone in single coverage. Jermaine Kearse has been relatively quiet all season but still manages to lead the receiving group in receptions (29) and touchdowns (4). We have no clue if Jeremy Kerley is gonna play or not so ArDarius Stewart finally might have a bigger role this week. Other than that, these two receiving groups aren’t winning any awards anytime soon.
Tight End: Jets
Charles Clay is out this week for Buffalo which is very good for the Jets. He had four receptions for 53 yards and a touchdown in the first matchup. He was the top receiver for Taylor before he went out and Nick O’Leary is not a guy who is striking fear into defenses.
Meanwhile, the Jets might have a nice one-two punch going with Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Eric Tomlinson. Tomlinson has gradually gotten more targets since the season started and even caught a touchdown last week. Seferian-Jenkins didn’t have a good game against the Falcons but has shown throughout the season that he is the tight end moving forward. (Can we PLEASE have him run routes longer than six yards?)
Offensive Line: Bills
The Jets offensive line can manufacture no push for the running game and seemingly always gets called for holding or hands to the face penalties when there are big runs. They’ve also allowed the sixth most sacks and seventh most QB hits this season, though some of those can be attributed to McCown not throwing the ball away and taking sacks.
Buffalo has the eighth ranked run offense at just under 125 yards per game. They’ve also allowed less sacks and QB hits than the Jets. While some of these may be skewed by the skillsets that Tyrod Taylor and LeSean McCoy, the Bills have the better offensive line and showed in Week One that they can keep the Jets out of the backfield to gain positive plays.
Defensive Line: Bills
Muhammad Wilkerson is questionable after having two good games in a row but has struggled against guys like McCoy. Leonard Williams still doesn’t have a sack all season while not playing very well either. The Jets best lineman has been Kony Ealy and he’s going to have to step up if the Jets want to disrupt the Bills offense.
Shaq Lawson has more sacks than the whole Jets defensive line does this season with two. Jerry Hughes has had a good season as well tallying three sacks himself. They’re going up against a Jets line that will be missing Brandon Shell who has arguably been their best offensive lineman this season. It might get ugly quick for a Jets team that struggles to run the ball and hold up in pass protection.
Darron Lee has come on strong the last few games. While still struggling in pass protection still, he has improved in both run stopping and coverage even if only by a small margin. Demario Davis is JAG and Jordan Jenkins just simply isn’t making plays besides recovering fumbles in monsoons. They can’t get pressure from the edge and, as a unit, struggle covering running backs one on one.
Lorenzo Alexander and Preston Brown are turning into quite the duo at linebacker. They can both cover and Alexander has two sacks on the season. Their strength is how rangy of a group they have. They don’t have guys who play out of position or who routinely get beat in coverage.
The Bills secondary is a ball hawking group. Micah Hyde has five interceptions on the year and their secondary as a whole has 10 on the season. Cornerback E.J. Gaines is out which hurts them but Tre’Davious White has been phenomenal as a rookie corner this season. This secondary is relatively healthy and just knows how to take the ball away. Expect them to take chances against Josh McCown who is prone to turning the ball over.
The Jets secondary is banged up. Buster Skrine might miss his second straight game and Morris Claiborne is questionable with a foot injury. If those two guys can’t go, it puts a lot of pressure on the two rookie safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye in coverage. After a strong start, Adams has really evened out while Maye looks like the one is making strides as the season goes on. If Claiborne and Skrine can’t go, they’ll be trotting out Darryl Roberts, Juston Burris, Robert Nelson and newly acquired Rashard Robinson. Robinson is a second year player who the Jets traded for from the 49ers at the trade deadline.
Special Teams: Bills
Steven Hauschka has only missed two field goals to Chandler Catanzaro’s four missed field goals (two of those were in a monsoon but still very makable kicks). Lachlan Edwards is a better punter than Colton Schmidt this season. Each team doesn’t have any game breaking returners while Jeremy Kerley, the fair catch gawd, cost his team a chance at beating the Falcons with a dropped punt.
For the all the praise Todd Bowles has gotten for having his guys ready this season, Sean McDermott deserves more praise. In what looked like a rebuilding season, he has his team in the thick of the playoff race and has completely changed the culture of the Buffalo Bills.
Photo courtesy of: nyjets.com