Even though NY governor Andrew Cuomo said playing the game as scheduled would be “impractical,” Roger Goodell and the league might have different thoughts on the matter.
The weather shouldn’t be as big of an issue as people think come Sunday; temperatures should make their way into the high 40’s come game time. The sun might be out as well, that’s great news for the Jets passing attack, which could be in for another solid performance this week.
Buffalo has now lost two straight and their playoff hopes hang in the balance. Their deficiencies on both sides of the ball have been showcased over the past couple games. It’s in the Jets best interest to expose those weaknesses this week, if they do, they might just leave Buffalo as winners of two straight.
Buffalo’s Exploitable Deficiencies
They rely on turnovers and sacks to win
Buffalo’s defense comes into this home contest against the Jets ranking first in the NFL in sacks (39) and third in takeaways (21). The Bills also rank seventh in the league in turnover margin on the season (+7). When the Bills lose the turnover battle they’re 2-2 on the year. However, those two wins came against the Lions (week five) and Vikings (week seven), both games were won on scoring plays with under five seconds to play. Buffalo forced six turnovers against the Jets the last time they faced off, three a piece for Geno Smith and Michael Vick.
Orton takes sacks… a lot of them (not all to his fault)
Kyle Orton has taken 20 sacks on the year. If you’re thinking that’s not all that bad remember this, Orton took the reigns in week five and has only started six games this season. In four starts former starter E.J. Manuel only took six sacks. However, the blame doesn’t entirely fall on Orton. Fred Jackson, the usual third down back, is Buffalo’s blitz pick-up specialist. Jackson has been held out of the majority of the last two games with a groin injury. In Jackson’s absence Buffalo has struggled to pick up the blitz affectively. Even though Jackson should start this week, Buffalo’s left guardKraig Urbik and rookie tackle Seantrel Henderson have had their fair share of issues over the past few games.
Buffalo’s declining rushing attack
The return on investment is diminishing quickly in Buffalo. The Bills acquired two new running backs this off-season, Anthony “Boobie” Dixon (via free agency) and Bryce Brown (via a trade with Philadelphia). Both of these backs have come in handy for the Bills as they lost Fred Jackson andC.J. Spiller to injuries in October. Anthony Dixon has contributed since week one as he had 60 yards on five carries against the Bears in the season opener. Dixon also had a good stretch of games leading into week 11’s divisional showdown against Miami. However, in that game Dixon rushed for only 35 yards on 11 carries.
On the other hand, Bryce Brown had his best game two weeks ago against Kansas City when he accumulated 100 all-purpose yards. In that same game Brown fumbled in the second half, a costly turnover that led to Buffalo’s heartbreaking loss to the Chiefs. Like Dixon, Brown’s performance was poor in Miami last week; he had just 14 yards on six carries. Jackson, Dixon, and Brown will have to show up this week to relieve some of the pressure facing Orton and the passing game. The Jets defense is ranked fourth in the league against the run, expect them to limit Buffalo as a team to another sub 100-yard performance.