Bills vs Jets: Battle of the exes


The Bills vs Jets clash tonight on Thursday Night Football, in a classic AFC East match-up with former Jets head coach Rex Ryan and former Jets linebacker IK Enemkpali.

This particular match-up is one I highlighted on the schedule. In my own opinion and I’m sure the same goes for most fans on both sides of the ball, this is America’s game of the week. It’s the battle of the exes with the new and improved 5-3 NY Jets hosting a 4-4 Buffalo Bills, coached by former Jets head coach Rex Ryan, and co-captained by former Jets linebacker IK Enemkpali.

I’m sure by now we’re all familiar with how Enemkpali found his way on the Bills’ roster. Their was an altercation in the Jets’ locker room during the off-season between Enemkpali and Geno Smith, words were exchanged, words turned into shoving, and shoving turned into one punch, a big punch, one so forceful, it left Smith on the ground with a broken jaw.

Head coach Todd Bowles wanted to make an early statement with his team, he cut the young linebacker prospect to send a message to the locker room, basically saying immature actions such as that will not be tolerated. He then found himself on the Bills roster shortly after the incident occurred.

Ryan was a former head coach for the Jets from 2009-2014. He achieved early success reaching back to back AFC East Championship appearances in 2009 and 2010. Since then, Ryan never recorded another winning season, finishing his final four seasons with records such as 8-8, 6-10 and 4-12. His downfall wasn’t entirely his fault, a lack of trust and power from the front office occurred once Ryan reached a slump.

Former general manager John Idzik definitely had a role in his release as well but that’s a completely different story. Ryan found himself on the unemployment line for a short period of time, recording multiple visits with teams such as Atlanta and Buffalo. He eventually signed with Buffalo stating he felt wanted in Buffalo. Personally, I always liked Ryan, he had his ups and downs but he loved his team, players and most importantly, his fans.

Fast forward one season, and the two Bills face their former team in what will be an emotional yet completely physical game. What better way to kick off the intense divisional matchup than with some flair. Ryan has wasted little time doing what Ryan does best, stirring the pot. The head coach of the Bills has announced the Enemkpali will serve as co-captain for the game, former Jets tight end Matthew Mulligan will also be out their as well.

Nov 8, 2015; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan leaves the field after beating the Miami Dolphins at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Bills beat the Dolphins 33-17. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Typical vintage Ryan, his main goal is to get inside the heads of his opponents. As we’ve seen in the past, that tactic has worked but it’s also blown up in his face. Ryan has also used this tactic when facing the Miami Dolphins both times this season, sending guard Richie Incognito out as a captain.

It did not take long for current members of the Jets’ roster to chime in on the topic. Wide out Brandon Marshall had this to say in regards to Ryan’s decisions on captains from the Media Relations Department of the Jets:

“Typical Rex,” “That is a Rex move. I mean, are you guys surprised?”

Not surprised at all, reminds me of when the Redskins faced the St. Louis Rams after they traded away a hand full of picks to the Rams in order to draft Robert Griffin III. The Rams sent out all the players they drafted with those picks they received from the Redskins as captains for that game.

I don’t expect anything less than a complete physical match-up, Ryan will do his fair share of trash talking antics, will they blow up in his face, or will he gain bragging rights over the team that gave him his first shot at being a head coach? We will find out this Thursday Night as both teams will also unveil their Nike Color Rush jerseys.

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As always, score prediction, this is tough! I believe that without a doubt both teams will give it everything they have, a definite close scoring game. I have the Jets winning 27-24.

This is a must win for both teams as the Bills look to earn bragging rights, while the Jets look to improve to 6-3 and remain as contenders for the division.