As the New York Jets prepare for their Thursday Night Football matchup against the Buffalo Bills, here are the top five players of Gang Green to keep an eye on in Week 9.
On Sunday, the reigning NFC champion Atlanta Falcons came into a MetLife Stadium to take on the New York Jets and ultimately left East Rutherford with a 25-20 victory. In a game where the elements certainly became a factor, the Jets had Atlanta on the ropes for a good amount of time before Matt Ryan and co. eventually sealed the victory and dealt the Jets their third loss in a row.
The Jets will return to MetLife this evening as the Buffalo Bills come to town and attempt to put an end to this three-game skid on this week’s edition of Thursday Night Football. One of the surprises of the season, Buffalo brings a 5-2 record into the matchup coming off of a decisive 34-14 victory over the Oakland Raiders. Currently 3-5, the Jets are looking not only to end their losing streak but avenge a season-opening loss to their division rival.
Even with the quick turnaround, the Jets have to put Sunday out of their mind and look to remain competitive. Even after such a jarring loss, they need to get ready to come and play on a national stage. Here are a few names you should keep an eye on after kickoff.
Next: 5. WR Robby Anderson
5. WR Robby Anderson
Even in defeat, Anderson had a good game as he pulled in 6 catches for 104 yards while bringing in his second touchdown in two weeks. He seems to be getting into a rhythm and his chemistry with quarterback Josh McCown has improved.
In Week 1, Anderson caught 4 passes for 22 yards. One week later, he could not put anything together as he only caught 2 passes for 28 yards. During the home opener, he blew up with 95 receiving yards and a touchdown catching only 3 passes. Subsequent to that his production decreased in a couple of down weeks before getting our attention against New England catching 4 passes for 76 yards.
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Ever since that performance, Anderson has impressed. The challenge for him will be to see if he can keep the positive rhythm he has had with McCown in a short week. He will look to record his third touchdown in as many weeks.
All in all, the receivers will have their hands full with a stingy Bills secondary that touts NFL interception leader S Micah Hyde (5 interceptions) as well as rookie CB TreDavious White who leads the league with 12 passes defended. Anderson has an uphill battle facing one of the top defenses coming off of a short week. If he can pull together a third positive performance in three games, he would certainly look to have the ball thrown his way a lot more moving forward.
Next: 4. S Marcus Maye
4. S Marcus Maye
Marcus Maye is one of the more popular players drafted this past season. The second round draft pick was selected along with Jamal Adams to help a secondary in dire need of repair. The gamble of drafting two safeties in the first two rounds seems to be paying off as Maye has been all over the field and looks to be an integral part of Bowles’ defense in the future.
While Maye certainly is in the team’s plans for the future, he will look to rebound from a not so positive outing against the Falcons including a play where he was shaken by TE Austin Hooper and slipped in coverage.
Maye comes in the short week looking for his third interception. The secondary in general will have their hands full as the Bills receivers got a shot in the arm at the trade deadline with the acquisition of Kelvin Benjamin from the Carolina Panthers. This should (theoretically) open some things up for the other receivers as well.
Next: 3. CB Rashard Robinson
3. CB Rashard Robinson
While this season was notable for a number of big moves that happened at this year’s trade deadline, Mike Maccagnan pulled a surprise himself and became a buyer before it ended. Maccagnan traded a 5th round pick to the San Francisco 49ers for CB Rashard Robinson.
On its surface, this was a very questionable move. Many are questioning why one of the most penalized teams in the league would pick up a player of this nature who has accrued so many penalties throughout his short career.
This seems like a move for the long-term and many are saying that this move could provide a fresh start and change of scenery for Robinson after falling out of favor with the new regime in San Francisco.
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If Robinson plays tonight, one has to wonder if Tyrod Taylor comes after him, and if so, how aggressive? Provided he is in the lineup, one could infer that Robinson could see his share of footballs thrown towards receivers coming his way.
Next: 2. LB Darron Lee
2. LB Darron Lee
Since Mike Maccagnan selected him in the 1st round of the 2016 NFL draft, Darron Lee has been one of the more criticized picks of his tenure. One could infer that Lee was having a very difficult time adjusting to the professional level, considering his play has largely been unimpressive.
Fast forward to the last couple of weeks, and Lee has been standing out as of late. He needs to keep up the momentum leading into tonight’s tilt with Buffalo, and he will certainly have his hands full trying to corral LeSean McCoy in the Bills backfield.
As always when it comes to players entering their sophomore seasons, there will still be some growing pains. While Lee is improving, he’s still making careless mistakes and drawing unnecessary penalties. He can make up for his lack of focus these past few games by having a big game tonight against the Bills if he uses his speed and awareness to the highest degree.
Next: 1. TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins
1. TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins
Since serving his suspension at the beginning of the season, Austin Seferian-Jenkins has been finding a role with the Jets and has established great chemistry with McCown as of late. They will look to keep up the positive chemistry tonight since Seferian-Jenkins didn’t see much action coming his way last week in a loss to the Falcons.
Coming off the Falcons loss snapping his 3 game touchdown streak, Seferian-Jenkins will look to get back into the end zone on Thursday Night Football against a tough Buffalo defense. On Sunday against the Falcons, while ASJ only accumulated 28 yards, he caught 5 of 5 targets.
It was a matchup where the elements had an adverse effect on both teams. Coming into a game where the forecast calls for no rain, Seferian-Jenkins should have an easier time accumulating yardage.
Since the Bills defense tends to not do well when covering tight ends, make sure to keep an eye on him as the Jets should increase his reps so they can take advantage of this weakness. The Jets need a win bad tonight and they will more than likely put Seferian-Jenkins in a position to do some serious damage, especially in the red zone.