Saturday, September 8, 2012

Opening weekend game primer: Bills at Jets


The New York Jets seek a sixth-straight win over the Buffalo Bills when they host a divisional bout between the teams Sunday at 1 p.m. Buffalo has mustered up some newfound hype this offseason, having signed standout defensive end Mario Williams to the most expensive contract for a defensive player in NFL history. Meanwhile, Gang Green made a big splash (understatement) of their own, acquiring Tim Tebow via trade. The hypothetical chatter will be put on hold for three hours as the teams duke it out in starting what looks to be a season-long race for second place.
Keys for a Jets win:

Contain Mario Williams. The Jets are solid from left tackle to right guard, but they are still suspect at right tackle where the inexperienced Austin Howard will line up. Williams will likely rush from that side, so the Jets would be wise to offer up some extra protection at least half the time.

Exploit Buffalo's cornerbacks. The Bills are young at cornerback with rookie Stephon Gilmore and second-year player Aaron Williams starting on the outside. Mark Sanchez (photo, Marianne O'Leary, Flickr) has to take some downfield shots to Santonio Holmes and rookie Stephen Hill. Not to say the Bills' CBs can't handle it, but you have to test them.

Make Ryan Fitzpatrick throw. Buffalo could come out of the gate with the spread no-huddle, but it could just as well start repeatedly pounding the ball up the middle with runs and short passes to Fred Jackson. Gang Green needs to be a wall up front and force the Bills to throw downfield. The Jets' secondary has a favorable matchup against Fitzpatrick if he has to go to the air often.

Keys for a Bills win:

Get to Mark Sanchez. It's time for the Bills' defense to show what it can do when things count for real. The Bills will try to get to the Jets' signal-caller mostly with a straight-up four-man rush, which could work. If it does, Sanchez will have fewer options for openings in the second and third tiers of Buffalo's defense (Photo: Iswiecicki, Flickr).

Beat them at their own game. The Jets have boasted one of the league's best run defenses the past few years. They might be even better this year. Buffalo will need to match that intensity on their own defensive line, as the Jets will try to establish the run, led by hard-nosed offensive coordinator Tony Sparano.

Keep the Jets defense from subbing. With a big, tough defensive front comes fatigue. That could be the case for the Jets if the Bills run their spread no-huddle offense on most plays. It could tire out the defensive rush and put pressure on the secondary to pick up the slack.
Week 1 Jets and Bills Posts:

Week 1 AFC East game picks: Bills at Jets

Bills' O-line gets vote of confidence from coach, QB

Hunter has 'no words to describe NY' ... except one

Johnson 'not doing anything special' in Revis prep

Bills' center on Jets' D: 3rd down will be a challenge

Jackson on sharing backfield: 'We'll have to adjust'

Rex: Hill getting ton of reps, 'that's what you want'
Out: OL Dennis Landolt, knee; DB Eric Smith, hip/knee; Questionable: DL Sione Po'uha, low back; DL Mike DeVito, calf; TE Dustin Keller (hamstring). Probable: WR Chaz Schilens, ankle; WR Santonio Holmes, ribs; DB Ellis Lankster, quad; LB David Harris, ankle; DB Josh Bush, concussion; LB Nick Bellore, shoulder; RB Joe McKnight, hamstring; WR Stephen Hill, calf; OL Brandon Moore, hip; LB Bryan Thomas, ankle; DB LaRon Landry, heel.

Out: CB Ron Brooks, DNP, foot; Questionable: WR Steve Johnson, groin; Probable: WR Brad Smith, groin; RG Kraig Urbik, low back.

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