At his Monday press conference, Jets coach Herman Edawards attempted to put an end to this thinking fast.
Reporter: Looking at the schedule, it kind of looks favorable for you guys heading into New England.
Edwards: How about Buffalo?
Reporter: How about San Francisco?
Edwards: How about Buffalo? That's who we play. That's all I'll comment on is Buffalo. I won't go any further than that. That's it. I'm going to tell you right now, that's all the players are going to comment on, too, guys. They've been told. Don't waste your time asking them questions about other teams. We're going to play Buffalo this week. Don't be asking questions about other teams; we're going to play Buffalo this week.
Q)How do you strike that balance? You want to foster the confidence a little, but how do you balance that out? What do you say to them?
Edwards: Real simple: We play Buffalo this week. It's real simple, guys. Not hard to figure out. You play the Buffalo Bills. You know that these guys play excellent defense. They do. Just watch the tape. Here I go again, said this last week, they've been in every game, all that kind of stuff. We can sit here and say... I'm just telling you, it will be a dogfight. We know what's coming around the corner. These guys play excellent defense, they really do . . .
Kevin Mawae's injured right hand is going to be under a lot more duress this week. Remember the Dolphins were starting two backup defensive tackles last week with Larry Chester and Tim Bowens out of the lineup. This week, the interior of the Jets offensive line will face a much tougher challenge, against one of the NFL's most formidable defensive tackles combinations, 6-4, 335 pound Sam Adams and 6-3, 317 pound Pat Williams. The Jets interior line is considered small by NFL standards, so this matchup is a tough one for them at full strength, and now throw in a center with a broken bone in his hand, and the Jets could have big problems. It would be surprising if tailback Curtis Martin has a 100-yard game on Sunday. Not only are Adams and Williams excellent against the run, but so are linebackers London Fletcher and Takeo Spikes.
"They are very hard to run on inside," said Edwards. "[Adams and Williams] are very, very physical guys. You're not going to move them out of there. You're not going inside. You can forget that. You're not running the ball there."
This a game the Jets are going to have to win through the air. The Bills have a substandard pass rush (four sacks in three games), and injury problems in their secondary. The Bills will be without two key starters with cornerback Troy Vincent (knee) and safety Lawyer Milloy (arm) out of the lineup. Milloy has been out since Week One, and the player who has been filling in for him, Coy Wire, is questionable with a thigh injury.
Chad Pennington should be able to rebound from an inconsistent performance at Miami. Look for Pennington to go after Vincent's replacement, Terrence McGee and both safeties, whether Wire plays or not. Wire, a college linebacker, is just average in coverage, and has given up some big plays this year. Another safety, who plays on passing downs, is rookie free agent Rashad Baker, and he tends to bite on play fakes. He gave up a big gain against the Raiders doing just that. The Jets are clearly going to have to win this game through the air, and should be able to do so . . .
A major focus for the Bills this offseason was to come up with an offensive scheme to protect quarterback Drew Bledsoe better. The plan hasn't worked out very well considering Bledsoe has been sacked 15 times in three games. A big part of the plan was to run the ball a lot more this year, and give Bledsoe more play-action opportunities. The Bills are currently ranked 24th in the NFL in rushing offense, and a big reason why is a suspect offensive line. Mike Williams has underachieved at right tackle. Remember he was the fourth pick of the 2003 draft, but has been a disappointment thus far. One reason is that he's carrying too much weight at 370 pounds. To make matters worse for the Bills' struggling line, two starters are questionable - left tackle Jonas Jennings (neck) and center Trey Teague (knee). Neither player practiced on Wednesday. Jets' ends John Abraham and Shaun Ellis should be able to get a lot done against the group . . .
If the Bills can give Bledsoe some time, he should be able to do some damage against the Jets' secondary, which has been inconsistent. Bills wide receiver Eric Moulds, at 6-2, is a bad matchup for the Jets' corners, who are on the short side. This year the Bills are moving Moulds around a lot to create favorable matchups. He's having a great year with 20 catches in three games. The addition of speedster Lee Evans has really helped Moulds because the rookie, who has 4.3 speed, is a threat to go deep on any play. He had a 65-yard catch at Oakland. Evans' speed has opened up the field for Moulds, giving him more room to operate . . .
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