Due to heavy amounts of snow in Buffalo the past week, the Bills have had to play one of their home games in Detroit, a city that hates their Defensive Coordinator and one local radio station has coordinated an effort to have more Jet fans than Bills fans there. Yes, that’s a great home field advantage right there.
When the Bills are on Defense
The last matchup between these two teams, the Bills were able to force six turnovers, three of which were by Geno Smith in the 1st quarter. While the Bills were able to shut down the passing game, when Michael Vick came in, the Bills had no answer for the run game, allowing 175 yards and 3 touchdowns. I expect the Jets to continue this run heavy attack with Vick and use Ivory and even Harvin in the run game. The Bills struggled against the run against Miami in their last game and they will need to contain Vick in the pocket so he won’t beat them with big runs.
In the pass game the Bills shut down the Jets in the last matchup and this is an area where the Bills wish Geno Smith was still starting. Percy Harvin and Eric Decker form a decent 1-2 punch and Harvin’s speed will be a challenge for the Bills as they are missing their fastest CB in McKelvin. The Bills should be sticking Gilmore on Decker but on Harvin will most likely be Corey Graham. Graham needs to do a good job of containing Harvin and may end up on by himself as I expect Aaron Williams to play close to the line and give run support. The Bills front four needs to do a good job getting pressure on Vick but the key is to contain him and to have him avoid scrambling and making plays with his legs. That and maybe forcing a few turnovers would help pick up the slack for the Bills offense.
When the Bills are on Offense
The Bills have not scored a touchdown since their opening drive against the Chiefs. In the past 6 week they have only averaged 20.16 points per game with a big chunk of that being a 43-point outburst in the last Jets matchup, otherwise it is only 15.6 points per game, that is Jaguars level of stink. I don’t expect the Bills to get six turnovers this game which means the offense has to get some touchdowns by themselves. The key to this will be Nathaniel Hackett who since week 3 has decided the run game is overrated and the Bills should throw it 40+ time each game. If the Bills want success they will need to stick to the run game and feed Bryce Brown, Boobie Dixon and Fred Jackson. Even if it is not working successfully, the Bills need to continue to run the ball which will help take pressure of the pass game and make play-action successful.
The past 2 weeks the Bills pass game has been shut down with only 1 TD and averaging an anemic 5.2 yards per attempt. It seems the book is out on Kyle Orton and I expect the Jets to follow the Chiefs and Dolphins gameplan of blitz him and force him to climb the pocket effectively, something he has been unable to do the past 2 weeks. A way the offense can help him out is to stop making him throw 40+ times a game and instead have a more balanced attack. Another way is to get Watkins involved in the offense whether screens or reverses where he can use his playmaking ability to convert short plays into big ones. The offensive line needs to play better and while they have only allowed 3 sacks the past 2 weeks, there were numerous pressures they have given up and forced Orton to either rush his throws or make awful throws due to getting hit. I expect the pass game to be better than it was last week but still not as good as it was in the first Jets meeting.
Overall I expect this to be a closer game than the last matchup. Barring Geno Smith playing, the Bills will not get six turnovers and their offense has regressed the past 2 weeks. Plus with the Bills pretty much eliminated from playoff hunt and not playing in their home turf, how motivated will they be this week? I expect the defense to continue it’s great play (Schwartz has done a fantastic job) but the offense will yet again hold the team back.
Bills 19 (4 FGs, Sparano will be fist pumping like crazy)