The NY Jets (10-5) go into their Week 17 match-up with a win and get in scenario against the Buffalo Bills (7-8).
The Jets are in prime position come Week 17. Sitting at 10-5 and being in control of their playoff destiny, they are in no funny scenarios. It is simple. Win and get in.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) December 31, 2015
The opponent? None other then Rex Ryan and the Bills. Let’s go through the best match-ups of the game and favor either the Jets or the Bills.
Jets: Ryan Fitzpatrick 3,724 yards 29 touchdowns 12 interceptions
Bills: Tyrod Taylor 2,853 yards 20 touchdowns 6 interceptions
This match-up clearly goes to the Jets, Fitzpatrick since trimming his beard hairs is 5-0 and his touchdown to interception ratio is incredible (13:1). While Taylor hasn’t had a bad season by any means, he has had his fair share of struggles since becoming the starting quarterback for the Bills. In the last match-up against the Jets earlier this season, Taylor struggled when the Jets’ defensive line kept him in the pocket and disrupted the passing game. Advantage Jets.
Jets: 116.4 rushing yards per game
Bills: 154.6 rushing yards per game
The problem with this match-up is both teams are battling through injuries at the position and I’m more worried for the Bills with their health at the position. According to ESPN reporter Rich Cimini, “Bills coach Rex Ryan, in conf call with NY media, all but ruled out LeSean McCoy for Sunday.” If this indeed rings true, the Bills are in some trouble. McCoy gave the Jets’ defense all kinds of fits earlier this season, it would be a huge blow.
While for the Jets, Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory haven’t been practicing due to knee and ankle ailments respectively. The Jets secret weapon most recently has been Powell who has been catching passes out of the backfield and breaking off nice long runs in limited opportunities. To be perfectly frank, Powell has been the better running back down the stretch for the Jets. No one can reveal what happened to Ivory, but his production has been anemic. The Bills have the #1 ranked rush offense in the league though. Advantage Bills.
This matchup will probably decide the game. If the Jets’ receiving corps can dominate as they’ve done all season, this Bills team will be no match for the Jets versatile passing attack. Though Marshall and Decker dominate the headlines, as they should, other Jets weapons have gotten involved in the passing game as elicited here in my last article: The other guys continue to make plays for the Jets.
While Watkins is certainly dangerous in his own right, he nearly beat Darrelle Revis deep in the first game. Watkins simply isn’t near the caliber that Marshall or Decker is at to this point. This will be a fun match-up to watch throughout the contest. With several injuries to this Bills’ offense, for them to have a chance they’re going to need some big plays from this receiving corps. Advantage Jets.
Nov 12, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) gives the play to the offense in the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Bills defeated the Jets 22-17 Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports
Bills Offensive Line vs Jets Defensive Line
According to Football Outsiders, the Bills have the 17th best offensive line in football in regards to teams are ranked according to Adjusted Line Yards. Based on regression analysis, the Adjusted Line Yards formula takes all running back carries and assigns responsibility to the offensive line. While the Jets in that same metric rank 27th in the league (for their offensive line).
In the Jets first match-up with the Bills earlier this season, they were able to get after Taylor and sacked him four times. On the year they are tied for 12th in the league with 37 sacks and since Week 9 have the most sacks in the NFL. If the Jets can keep Taylor in the pocket, the sacks are bound to happen, if he escapes the pocket, the Jets could get into trouble. Sheldon Richardson has been finding his groove since coming back from suspension. While the Bills’ offensive line has a few pieces that have really stepped up, Richie Incognito being one of them as he ranks as one of the top guards in all of football. Advantage Jets.
Jets Offensive Line vs Bills Defensive Line
The Jets have protected their quarterback unexpectedly well in 2015. They rank second in the league in terms of times their quarterback has been sacked per game (average of 1.2 times per game). While many expected Rex Ryan to improve the already stellar defensive play of the Bills’ defensive line, that hasn’t been the case. A year removed from leading the NFL in sacks, the Bills have now tumbled to 31st in the league.
It’s unbelievable but even with that being said, the Bills defensive play-makers can’t be taken lightly. The Jets did a great job protecting Fitzpatrick early in the season, as they have all year. Also again some more injury concerns are coming out that several key pieces on their defensive front could potentially miss the regular season finale. (DE Mario Williams (hand) DT Marcell Dareus (neck). Advantage Jets.
The reason this is its own category is because of the injuries. The Bills just brought up two corners from their practice squad and facing the best 1-2 punch in football could make this a blood bath. To be more specific, here is Bills Insider for www.buffalobills.com Chris Brown:
“With just three healthy cornerbacks on their roster, Buffalo promoted a pair of corners from their practice squad. The Bills called up CBs Bud Noel and Sammy Seamster from their practice squad Wednesday.”
“Noel (5-10, 175) has spent almost the entire season on the team’s practice squad. The undrafted rookie spent the entire offseason and training camp with Buffalo.”
“Seamster (6-0, 205) is a former undrafted signing of the Baltimore Ravens (2014) and has played in two NFL games, both with Miami in 2014. He has been on Buffalo’s practice squad since mid-November.”
Rex Ryan during one of his weekly press conferences shared his thoughts on the dire cornerback situation via www.buffalobills.com:
“Obviously this team their main formation is four-wide so you’d like to have at least four corners,” said Ryan Monday. “That’d be nice to have so I hope like heck that Darby can play for us.”
Look for the Jets to attack the Bills sudden weakness with a variety of spread formations to create one-on-one match-ups across the board to manipulate this critical game inside the game. Advantage Jets.
Surprisingly on the ESPN radio show I work for, we had a Bills insider call in this week and share the pulse of the team and he said that most of the players have ‘turned in’ and that this game obviously means more to Ryan than anyone on the roster. Also the news coming out that the Bills intend to release Mario Williams doesn’t help things in terms of motivation for Sunday’s contest.
With all that being said, I anticipate the Bills to come out with emotion on their sleeves and with that will come some ‘chippy-ness’ and I think that will cost the Bills dearly, with penalties and not being focused on the game. I think the game will stay close through the first half, with the Jets running away with the game through the second stanza resulting in the Jets punching their ticket into the playoffs.