Heading into the Jets vs Bills Week 2 matchup, The Jet Press sits with sportswriter Christa Levitas to discuss the top 5 burning questions for tonight.
Jan 3, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus (99) tries to knock down a pass by New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 22 to 17. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
As Thursday Night Football kicks off Week 2 with the Jets vs Bills game, I’ve had the privilege of sitting down with sportswriter Christa Levitas. She’s one of my favorite writers that I thoroughly enjoy reading her interviews with players and unique insight that makes her an expert when it comes to anything about the New York Jets.
You can catch her work via Locker Room Update and even on their official Facebook page. She’s also incredibly active on Twitter so please give her a follow. Heading into tonight’s game, all eyes will be on the Jets to see if they can bounce back from their Week 1 meltdown of a loss.
Even though it’s just Week 2, tonight is a must-win game for Gang Green as they can’t start the season off 0-2 as it’ll set them back tremendously. Many questions will be answered tonight that will define the character of this team facing a tough Buffalo Bills team that had their number all of last season.
Without further ado, here are the top 5 burning questions me and Christa discuss for tonight’s Jets vs Bills game.
Next: 5. Can Darrelle Revis contain Sammy Watkins?
Sep 1, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins (14) catches a ball before the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Lions win 31-0. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
5. Can Darrelle Revis contain Sammy Watkins?
Reports are saying that wide receiver Sammy Watkins will indeed be playing against the Jets on Thursday Night Football. Should fans be worried considered how bad cornerback Darrelle Revis got torched last week by wide receiver A.J. Green?
CL: Revis was battling a wrist injury last season, however, we saw how he had trouble matching up against the speedster type wide receivers such as DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins last season. Revis is still a great cornerback and one of the best at what he does. He is a great man to man corner.
If the Jets play Revis like they did Week 16, some level of concern is understandable simply because we saw how that played out the last week. The Jets need to give him safety help when matching up against Watkins. His speed was too much for Revis to handle last time and safety help across the top will definitely help him against his matchup.
LTJ: I completely agree, Christa. I think this will be another nightmare of a matchup if Watkins is healthy and plays to his potential. Reports have said that Watkins might not see so much action due to his foot injury, but if he’s playing, the Bills will undoubtedly hit Revis Island hard. Considering what wide receiver A.J. Green did last week against Revis, I just don’t see him being able to contain Watkins in the grand scheme of things.
Next: 4. Does Rex Ryan really have the Jets' number?
Sep 11, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan looks on from the sidelines during the second quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
4. Does Rex Ryan really have the Jets’ number?
The Bills are 2-0 against the Jets once Rex Ryan took over. Could it be that the Jets are getting psyched out since it’s their old head coach or is it more he’s got their number?
CL: I believe both teams will be extremely motivated since this is not only a division rivalry but the outcome of losing last week as well. This is a must win for both teams. Rex Ryan is a great defensive mastermind who is great at getting creative on defense whether he has the plan to blitz to get to Fitzpatrick or find a way to take away Brandon Marshall. Some of these players currently on the roster have experience playing under Rex and know how creative he can be on defense.
LTJ: Honestly, Ryan treats these games against the Jets as if it’s the Super Bowl. There is no question he has a huge chip on his shoulder due to being fired by the franchise and will make sure as long as he’s a head coach of the opposition, to embarrass them beyond belief. Ryan is psychologically using this to his advantage since he swept the Jets last season in both AFC East rivalry games. I can see him getting this entire team motivated to once again keep the Jets rattled all night long.
Next: 3. Can the Jets' defense contain quarterback Tyrod Taylor?
3. Can the Jets’ defense contain quarterback Tyrod Taylor?
Can the Jets get another huge defensive performance against versatile quarterback Tyrod Taylor? Since the Bills lost last week to the Baltimore Ravens, could this be a game they make an example out of the Jets?
CL: The Baltimore Ravens did a great job by holding the Bills to just 160 yards. Taylor is a versatile quarterback who is also great with running the football. The Jets can’t let Taylor beat you with his legs. I believe the Bills will make key adjustments before facing the Jets. The Jets can’t let Taylor beat you with his legs as the best approach is trying to beat him in the air and generating more pressure against him. The Jets will also get back defensive end Sheldon Richardson from suspension which only helps strengthen the Jets’ defensive line.
LTJ: Taylor put up a clinic in that Week 17 matchup last season against the Jets. However, judging by what I’ve seen all preseason long and especially after Week 1, the Jets’ defensive line will give him nightmares. The only concern is their defensive secondary but if that defensive front can keep the pressure all night long, the Jets have a very good chance at beating them for the first time under this new leadership regime.
Next: 2. What do the Jets need to adjust heading into tonight?
Sep 1, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles on the sidelines during the first half against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
2. What do the Jets need to adjust heading into tonight?
What do the Jets need to adjust heading into their first AFC East rivalry game of the season?
CL: The Jets need to execute and play smart football. They can’t afford to make many mental errors. Heading into this game the Jets need to give Revis safety help when facing Watkins, that can’t be stressed enough.
The Jets also must get, good protection from their offensive line which is always crucial. Gang Green have a lot of playmakers on offense to work with so they don’t have to force the football all the time to Marshall.
I read an article that the Jets plan on using running back Matt Forte and are not planning on reducing his role. Forte is a versatile back, who has great vision and is great in the backfield. Getting creative with Forte and fellow running back Bilal Powell may help since both are two different types of backs which would also help take pressure off of Fitzpatrick.
The Jets can’t be too conservative, they have to take risks and go for 7 instead of settling for field goals. With Richardson coming back this will only help the Jets’ defensive line generate more blitz and a pass rush like the Jets did against the Bengals. Last week, I saw the Bengals fool the Jets on trick plays which left the defense baffled, they can’t let Rex do the same and have to be ready for anything his offense throw their way.
Finally, the Jets should also focus on getting wide receiver Eric Decker more involved. Last week, Decker and Marshall were barely targeted since they focused more on the run. They also need to execute better in the red zone and well, air it out against this Bills’ defense.
LTJ: It’s all about key adjustments to maintain the aggression. You hit the nail right on the head, Christa but I disagree with airing it out now. Forte is literally the workhorse on this offense and well, if they can establish and commit to the run, it will open things up even more for the passing game. Fitzpatrick shouldn’t be throwing so much since he doesn’t have the arm strength and without a potent rushing attack, will make the Jets’ offense one-dimensional. That’s when Ryan will blitz the heck out of the Jets and dominate them throughout the game.
It’s imperative they stick to the run and then let their defense keep the Bills in check. I also believe on passing plays, they need to give the football to their main playmakers in Marshall and Decker. They’re two very important pieces on offense and should be used as such.
Next: 1. Final score and MVP?
Dec 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson (91) sacks New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. New York Jets defeat the New England Patriots 26-20 in OT. Mandatory Credit: Jim O
1. Final score and MVP?
What do you predict to be the final score and MVP of this game?
CL: I believe it will be a close one as I have the Jets winning 24 – 21. I believe the MVP will be Richardson.
LTJ: Unfortunately, I see the Jets losing this game in dramatic fashion to a game-winning field goal courtesy of the Bills as they will win 17-14 in a defensive battle. MVP will be Rex Ryan since he’ll be all over the media going 3-0 against his old team and explaining how they’re the new big bully of the AFC East.