Previewing the Jets’ opposition: Buffalo Bills

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By: Bent

Photo by Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Jets host the top team in the division before their bye

Many people are viewing the Bills as the NFL’s best team and the expectation is that they’ll win handily on Sunday to drop the Jets to 5-4 on the season. However, they did lost to Miami and have had a couple more teams run them close, so this could be a good chance for the Jets to prove they can hang with one of the league’s most impressive teams. The Bills have beaten the Jets in four straight games, including two blowout wins last season. Buffalo enters as an 11 point favorite according to DraftKings Sportsbook.

Quarterbacks

Josh Allen is in contention to be this year’s MVP as he has passed for over 2,000 yards and 19 touchdowns already. He’s averaging a career-best 314 passing yards per game and his yards per attempt (8.3) and per completion (12.7) also represent career bests.

Allen is always a threat to keep drives alive with his legs and has accounted for 24 first downs on the ground in the first seven games. The Jets will need to try and keep him in the pocket and be alert to designed runs.

The Bills brought in Case Keenum to be their number two. He only started two games during his two years with the Browns, but won both starts.

Offensive Line

Left tackle Dion Dawkins is the Bills’ best offensive lineman and has been a mainstay for them again this season. He does have five penalties in seven games though.

The Bills’ guard positions were in flux last season but they’ve had some good consistency this year with offseason signing Roger Saffold starting every game at left guard and Ryan Bates starting every game on the right. Neither has played that well though, so the Jets will hope to get some interior pressure. Bates started four games last season but this is the first time he’s been a full-time starter.

The center Mitch Morse and right tackle Spencer Brown have each missed some time. Ex-Jet Greg Van Roten started one game at center and David Quessenberry started at right tackle in the Bills’ most recent game against the Packers. Quessenberry may need to start again on Sunday because Brown was limited in practice all week and has been listed as questionable.

Bobby Hart has seen some action as a jumbo package tight end and the Bills also have Justin Murray on the roster.

One thing to watch with the Bills is that they will sometimes line up in an unbalanced line set in short yardage situations.

Running Backs

Devin Singletary is a consistent starting running back for the Bills. He rushed for 870 yards and seven touchdowns last season and caught 40 passes. This year, he doesn’t have a 100-yard game or a touchdown run but still averages 4.5 yards per carry and is on course to set career marks as a pass catcher.

Second round rookie James Cook hasn’t played much but has averaged 5.5 yards per carry and caught five passes for 78 yards. The Bills also just swapped Zack Moss for Nyheim Hines at the trade deadline. Hines brings third down back capabilities.

Fullback Reggie Gilliam sees some action on offense but Taiwan Jones is mostly just a special teamer.

Pass catchers

The Bills’ passing game hasn’t been slowed down even though they lost two productive players in Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders during the offseason. They’re once again led by Stefon Diggs, who is having a monster season with 55 catches for 764 yards and seven touchdowns in the first seven games.

Gabriel Davis established himself during the postseason with his four-touchdown game against the Chiefs and while he only has 16 catches and a sub-50 percent catch rate, he’s leading the league in yards per reception at 26.1 and has four touchdowns in the first seven games.

Isaiah McKenzie has stepped up into a bigger role. He has 18 receptions and four total touchdowns so far.

With ex-Jet Jamison Crowder currently on injured reserve, Jake Kumerow and fifth round rookie Khalil Shakir round out the bench. Shakir had his first career touchdown a few weeks ago against the Steelers.

At tight end, Dawson Knox has 17 catches and a couple of touchdowns after racking up nine touchdown catches last season. Quintin Morris and Tommy Sweeney are the backups.

Defensive Line

The Bills are a 4-3 team, although Von Miller will stand up on the edge virtually all the time so they’ll often have only three with their hands in the dirt. Miller was a big offseason acquisition and is living up to the hype with six sacks in seven games.

In his second season, Gregory Rousseau has settled into a starting role at the other defensive end position. He has five sacks and is leading the team in quarterback hits.

AJ Epenesa has been Buffalo’s best reserve at defensive end with 2.5 sacks. Boogie Basham and ex-Jet Shaq Lawson have one sack each.

Daquan Jones and Ed Oliver are listed as the starters inside, although Oliver has missed three games and they only have half a sack between them. Reserves Jordan Phillips and Tim Settle stepped up when Oliver was out and have combined for 2.5 sacks. Phillips is back after he had 9.5 sacks for the Bills in 2019 but then signed for Arizona as he is one of several current Bills that has left the team and then returned later.

Linebackers

While Tremaine Edmunds is the Bills’ leading tackler, Matt Milano has been filling up the stat sheet with five tackles for loss, five passes defensed and a pair of interceptions, one of which was a pick-six.

Many Bills fans now view Milano as a top-five linebacker, but he missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday with an oblique injury and only returned on a limited basis on Friday so he has been listed as questionable.

Third round rookie Terrel Bernard is also listed as a starter but he plays a part-time role with the team often in subpackages. Tyrel Dodson also sees some playing time but Tyler Matakevich and seventh round rookie Baylon Spector have mostly featured on special teams.

Defensive Backs

The Bills will get a boost soon, as star cornerback Tre’Davious White was just activated from injured reserve having suffered a torn ACL last season. It’s not yet clear if he will be ready to play this weekend, though.

With White out, the Bills have used Dane Jackson and first round rookie Kaiir Elam on the outside and Taron Johnson in the slot. Sixth round rookie Christian Benford also started the first three games. They’ve held up quite well despite White’s absence as the Bills are ranked in the top-10 for passing defense.

At safety, the Bills long-time safety duo of Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer was broken up when Hyde suffered an early-season neck injury. They’ll also be without Poyer this week because he’s been ruled out with an elbow injury.

With Hyde out, Damar Hamlin has started the last five games. Reserve Jaquan Johnson has also started two games. Hamlin has done quite well but does lead the team in missed tackles. Johnson has struggled at times.

Cam Lewis, Dean Marlowe and Siran Neal bring some versatility to the bench but none of them have played much this year. However, someone may need to step up because the Bills often like to operate with three safeties on the field.

Special Teams

Bills kicker Tyler Bass has been solid so far. He’s missed just two field goals and made a game-winner as time expired in the Ravens game.

The Bills looked to address their punter position in the offseason when they drafted Matt Araiza, but they ended up having to release him after he encountered legal issues. Instead, they signed former Bronco Sam Martin when he was made a cap casualty at the end of camp. He’s allowed a league-low 19 return yards.

Shakir took over from Crowder as the team’s punt returner, while McKenzie has been handling kick returns. However, the Bills haven’t had much success in the return game yet.

Neal leads the team in special teams tackles but Matakevich, Lewis and Bernard have also been productive. The Bills have averaged less than two punts per game but Neal is their best gunner.

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.

Originally posted on Gang Green Nation – All Posts

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