Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills are heading to New Jersey for the first time since Ryan was replaced as head coach of the NY Jets. This is the first time Rex has been back to his old stomping grounds since the Jets cleaned house last December. Here is everything you need to know...
Revenge Game? First off, this isn't neccessarily a revenge game for Rex. Many in the media expected Rex to offer up some tasty sound bytes related to the Jets but he hasn't obliged. The truth is, this isn't revenge game. Former Jets GM John Idzik, long rumored to have been at odds with Ryan, was also fired, and Rex has long professed his undying love for team owner Woody Johnson. Rex was loved by his players, and he genuinely enjoyed coaching in New Jersey. Sure, the Jets fans will boo, and there will be a camera on Rex the entire game to capture any trace of emotion for the highlight reel. But don't expect the Bills to come out overcome with emotion and low on discipline. We know Rex & the Bills are playing to win. But this isn't about revenge.
Bills D Not Adjusting? The biggest concern I have for the Buffalo Bills is the defense. This has nothing to do with the players, because we know how good they are. Rex Ryan has been shockingly unwilling to adjust his scheme to his personnel, which has baffled many. The Bills roster is built to calmly pick up the quarterback and place him in a giant sausage grinder for 60 minutes, but Ryan's defensive scheme at times places his players in a position to perform outside their strengths. Sometimes it works, but other times it is costly. If Rex decides dropping a player like I.K. Enemkpali into coverage against Brandon Marshall is a good idea, Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to cash in his beard karma. The Jets will take advantage of any defensive mismatches and they're planning to find some.
The Jets Run D Is A Brick Wall. Nobody is doing well on the ground against the Jets this year. You're probably not going to see both LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams rush for over 100 yards again. But they're too good to be completely shut down. Jerome Felton and Charles Clay have emerged as a very effective run blocking duo. Ultimately I believe the Bills running game is too powerful to be completely taken away by the Jets.
The Bills will attack the Jets in the air. The Jets know it, the Bills know it, and the fans know it. Darrelle Revis will be all over Sammy Watkins, but the Jets secondary still has to deal with Robert Woods and Charles Clay. Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor should give the Jets players and coaches indigestion regardless of what they decided to eat for the pregame meal. Taylor is making good decisions with the football, is finding open receivers, and keeps plays alive with his feet. He is going to be tested a lot against the Jets, and he's going to come through for the Bills.
Sammy Watkins will define himself on this big stage. Sammy Watkins will be in the spotlight, in a prime time game all alone for the cameras on Revis Island. We all know how good Revis is. We are still learning who Watkins is. Well, this is it: he will define who he is on the field. Despite the coverage, I expect Watkins to be a big part of the Bills game plan. The Jets are simply too good for the Bills to waste a player like Watkins as a decoy. Forget about the ankle. He'll make some plays against Revis tonight, and should gain some new followers on social media as a result.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is the Jets Quarterback. Failing to properly prepare for Ryan Fitzpatrick is perilous. He will make some throws few quarterbacks are capable of making. He has a knack for getting the ball into the hands of Brandon Marshall even when a play seemingly falls apart, just as he did with Stevie Johnson all those years ago. His beard has more twitter followers than Geno Smith, and has earned him the title "Fitzmagic" and the "Amish Rifle" among others. Ryan Fitzpatrick will always give him team a chance to win, something Jets and Bills fans are both aware of. He will also always give opposing players an equal opportunity to become the Defensive Player of the Week, by inexplicably placing the ball with precision into the hands of LB's and DB's when they least expect it. Will the Bills defense be prepared for the enigma that is Ryan Fitzpatrick?
Will We Get To See The Rematch Of Geno Smith Vs IK Enemkpali? Don't act like you haven't thought about this too. Save the feigned outrage; nobody cares. Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to have surgery soon. He's one hit away from the bench against a powerful roster of pass rushers. This has a chance of happening. And this would be the most Rex Ryan thing that could probably happen, right? Therefore, it probably will.
Time for a Prediction. This should be a really close game. The Jets will take advatage of Rex Ryan's well known proclivities on defense. Darrelle Revis is a Jet. But so is Antonio Cromartie. And he's been synonymous with "disappointing" and "liability" this season. Both teams are banged up. Really banged up. The Jets are tough and are very capable of winning this football game in front of their home crowd in East Rutherford, New Jersey. But they won't. BILLieve that. Bills 22, Jets 20.
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