NFL Game Of The Week #12: Bills at Jets

EAST RUTHERFORD NJ - AUGUST 16: Quarterback Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets passes against the New York Giants during their game at New Meadowlands Stadium on August 16 2010 in East Rutherford New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Buffalo Bills(5-5) at New York Jets(5-5) (Sun. Nov. 27th, 2011 @ 1pm(EST.)

Stars Watch:
(Buffalo): QB Ryan Fitzpatrick - When Fitzpatrick plays well the offense is capable of putting up big numbers. He was one of the hottest QB's during the first four weeks of the season, but lately he and the entire Buffalo offense has struggled to put points on the board. Fitzpatrick and the Bills averaged nearly 33 points per game in the first four games of the season and since then have managed only about 14 points per game in the last five contest. The Bills need to open up their offense again and put the fun and gun play back in business led by Fitzpatrick. He has completed 63.6% of his passes and has thrown 16 tds along with 14 ints. Fitzpatrick needs to regain his early form and execute against an aggressive Jets pressure defense.


(New York): QB Mark Sanchez - The Jets offense has been underachieving all season. The franchise's signal caller QB Mark Sanchez has played inconsistent throughout the season. He is completing a dismal 57.1% of his passes and at times looks even more inaccurate than that. Sanchez has a ton of talented receivers around him and will be facing a Bills defense that is vulnerable against the pass. He should have enough time to locate his teammates and make plays in the passing game.


New York Offense vs. Buffalo Defense: The Jets have a ton of talented playmakers. WR Santonio Holmes is a former Super Bowl MVP and WR Plaxico Burress who made the winning td catch against the Patriots in the 2007 Super Bowl. TE Dustin Keller has the hands and playmaking abilities like a wide receiver. RB Shon Greene has not live up to expectations this season and has only a 3.9 yards per carry average and scored only 2 rushing tds for a run heavy offense. QB Mark Sanchez has been inaccurate all season completing only 57 percent of his passes. Sanchez will have to improve quickly for the Jets to have any hopes of making it back to the playoffs and winning the Super Bowl coach Rex Ryan has guaranteed the Jets would win. Buffalo is in the process of rebuilding their defense. The best way to start is up front with the big fellas. Buffalo did just that by drafting with their 1st pick in the 2011 NFL Draft DT Marcell Dareus who has been all they hoped he would be. They are still in need of a pass rusher after giving OLB Shawn Merriman a chance to rejuvenate his career, but he sustained a season ending injury. The secondary has a lot of talented athletes starting with FS Jairus Byrd and CB Leodis McKelvin, but have lost key contributers to injuries of late in CB Terrance McGee and SS George Wilson.

New York Defense vs. Buffalo Offense: Jets head coach Rex Ryan has put his print on the defense. They play an aggressive punch you in the mouth first type defense. They rely heavily on their two starting corners Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie to man up all over the field and shut down the opposing team's best receivers. That allows Ryan and staff to send continuous pressure to force the QB to make quick decisions and be accurate with his throws. Jets linebackers Bart Scott, David Harris, Bryan Thomas, and Calvin Pace make up a solid unit against the run but need to be more consistent generating pressure and getting sacks. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, RB Fred Jackson, and WR Steve Johnson early in the year were the most exciting triplet combination in the NFL. Jackson has been put on the injured reserve list and will miss the rest of the season and Johnson has been nursing a shoulder injury and hamstring injury all season. RB C.J. Spiller will replace Jackson in the lineup and has tremendous speed. Buffalo needs to scrap the conservative approach and get back to the big play offense that made them one of the most exciting offenses in the league.




Key Stats:
                                           Buffalo (NFL Rank & Yards)                           New York (NFL Rank & Yards)

Rush Off.                                          7th - 125.6ypg                                                 25th - 96.6ypg
Pass Off.                                        18th - 220.8ypg                                                 20th - 217.9ypg
Rush Def.                                       20th - 122.4ypg                                                17th - 116.9ypg
Pass Def.                                       24th - 250.0ypg                                                  5th - 200.1ypg


Total Offense:                                          14th                                                                    22nd


 Total Defense:                                        26th                                                                      8th


Points Per Game:                            23.7ppg (10th)                                                  22.8ppg (17th)



Key Matchups:
WR Steve Johnson (versus) CB Darrelle Revis:
Johnson has been nursing a shoulder injury and has not been 100% healthy. He is QB Ryan Fitzpatrick's favorite target and Buffalo's best deep threat. He has been very unproductive the past few games and needs to regain that chemistry with Fitzpatrick that made the Bills and exciting and explosive bunch early in the year. He has 46 receptions, 547 yards receiving, and caught 4 tds. Johnson will be covered by perhaps the best cover corner in the NFL in Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis. Revis has the ability to shut down the opposing team's best receiver every week. He has 4 interceptions on the year and has returned one for a touchdown. Johnson will need to find a way to get open against Revis and make plays to help the Bills struggling offense.



Bills Offensive Line (versus) New York's Defensive Line: Buffalo has been trying to put together an offensive line for several years now. Bills have been taking the cheaper route and drafting lineman late and signing quality free agent backups. They have passed on potential franchise tackles in the last few drafts to draft players who are no longer on the team (DE/OLB Aaron Maybin) or playing a back up roll (C.J. Spiller). They will need to dominate the line of scrimmage in this matchup and protect QB Ryan Fitzpatrick against the pressure blitzes New York will send. New York's defensive line has been playing well lately against the run. DE Muhammad Wilkerson and NT Sione Pouha will need to control their gaps against Buffalo who likes to run the ball first to set up the play action passing game. Whomever can win this battle of the trenches will more than likely set the tone for the rest of the unit to succeed.



Final Word: This game is shaping up to be a loser leave town match or better yet the loser leaves the playoff picture map. Both teams come into the game with a mini losing streak and want to get back on road of being at least a playoff wildcard participant. The Jets and Bills are both struggling offensively mainly due to a lack of big plays. It all starts with each team's QB who over the last month who have been inconsistent. The last five weeks QB Mark Sanchez has completed only 59% of his passes with only 5 tds and 5 ints and QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown 4 tds and 8 ints. It is safe to say that when these signal callers play well their team's offense usually is very productive. The Jets defense will pressure you into making mistakes and forcing turnovers and will allow their corners to play man to man defense. The Bills defense has struggled defensively against the pass and have recently lost some key starters due to injuries. The team that can make the most plays in the passing game and keep the turnovers to a minimum will have the best chance of coming out victorious.

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