Sunday's contest will feature a variety of intriguing storylines. The game will showcase two rookie quarterbacks in Geno Smith and E.J. Manuel square off in the first of many battles between the two young passers. Furthermore, Rex Ryan will now face Mike Pettine, who left his post as defensive coordinator for Gang Green for the same position in Buffalo. Ryan, who referred to Pettine as his brother, looks forward to welcoming back his longtime colleague.
"We'll want to beat each other's brains in," Ryan said. "From a competitive standpoint, you don't want to whip anyone worse than you want to whip your own brother. It'll be great competition."
The game will also feature the return of 2012 first round pick Quinton Coples who is coming back from a hairline fracture in his ankle that required surgery. While Coples will see limited action, Ryan expects to see him maximize his playing time by making crucial plays. Coples is coming off a spectacular rookie campaign that saw him become an integral part of Ryan's defensive schemes. Coples is expected to split time with Garrett McIntyre and Antwan Barnes who in turn split time at outside linebacker with the young star sidelined.
"I don't know what to say," Ryan stated on Coples' recovery. "I don't know how he's doing it, but he's done it. We'll see what he can do."
Another question being raised around the Jets camp is whether cornerback Dee Milliner will remain a starter for Gang Green. The rookie corner was pulled in the second half against the Patriots in what the coaching staff said was a move to keep his confidence high. Milliner will have an easier time going against a rookie quarterback and will not have to worry about covering the Bills' most dangerous receiver.
"I'd rather Dee have more experience, five years from now," joked Ryan. "He'll be ready to play. There's no question he'll be ready to play and he'll be part of that rotation we just talked about."
The final storyline comes in the form of two young arms looking to make their mark on the league. Smith and Manuel both sport 1-1 records in the early part of the season. Manuel was able to bring the Bills back from a six point deficit last week against Carolina to bring home a 24-23 victory. So far this year, Manuel has three touchdowns and one interception while also completing just over 60 percent of his passes. The Jets will have to remain disciplined if they want to take the upper hand in the tight AFC East.
"I think the offensive coordinator does a good job of putting him in positions where he's going to be successful," CB Darrin Walls stated. "He hasn't thrown the ball that much downfield, but we know he has a strong arm, so we'll be ready."