Although fierce AFC East division rivals, the New York Jets are hosting the Buffalo Bills as two of the most disappointing teams in the league this year. Without much to look forward to this season, both teams are looking to gain some momentum to put a positive spin on the second half of the year.
The Bills lost in a blowout to the Chicago Bears last week. Nathan Peterman continued his turnover-laden season with a three-interception performance. Their offense as a whole only put up 264 yards. They actually out-gained the Bears, but most of that could be attributed to the short fields the Bears were handed due to turnovers.
The Jets offense was just as pathetic. They only mustered 275 total yards, with four turnovers of their own. All of these turnovers were interceptions by prized rookie Sam Darnold. Unfortunately for this week, Darnold will be sitting out this matchup with a foot sprain. This will actually be a good thing for the Jets, as the young gunslinger could use this time to learn from the veteran Josh McCown. Darnold also leads the league with 14 interceptions, four more than the next quarterback on the list, Case Keenum.
McCown has been playing in the NFL since Darnold was in elementary school, and is far more equipped to lead the Jets against a tough Buffalo defense. Another dismal performance by Sam would cause turmoil in the locker room and the already frustrated fan base. Jamal Adams already stated last week that he was tired of losing, which was likely a factor in Todd Bowles decision to be cautious with Darnold this week.
This week will be a battle of the defenses. Both of these young defenses have shown promise, and are the clear strengths of their respective teams. Here are the top three key matchups to watch in this Week 10 division rivalry game.
3. Isaiah Crowell vs. Tremaine Edmunds
Isaiah Crowell is coming off four straight games with less than 50 yards on the ground. This is all after he put up 219 yards against the Denver Broncos. He has shown the ability to shake tackles in these games, but the Jets have had to abandon the run while playing from behind. They have also had very little success on third down, causing them to stay off the field. Crowell will be looking to get back on track in this one, with the veteran Josh McCown likely to manage a more potent offensive attack. The Bills are also allowing over 100 yards a game on the ground this year.
Tremaine Edmunds has exceeded expectations in his rookie year. He has stepped into an already solid Bills front 7 and is leading the team with 62 total tackles. He is also leading the team with seven passes defended. This is very impressive considering he is a middle linebacker. With elite speed and above average instincts, the sky is the limit for this 6’5″ 250lb monster.
It will be a sight to see whenever these two collide. Crowell refuses to go down on the first hit, but Edmunds will have something to say about that. If the Jets want to get the win this week, Crowell is going to have to serve some tough love to the stud rookie linebacker.
Next: 2. LeSean McCoy vs. Jets Front 7
2. LeSean McCoy vs. Jets Front 7
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With Nathan Peterman likely under center for the Bills, they will be relying heavily on the run game. Chris Ivory is a little banged up with a shoulder injury, but will likely play this week. Despite this, look for the Bills to feature their main man, LeSean McCoy, to take the pressure off their turnover machine of a quarterback.
McCoy has racked up 453 yards from scrimmage on the year, despite playing in an anemic offense and playing through various injuries. He is their number one option. Look for the Jets to put eight in the box consistently to limit McCoy’s big play potential.
The Jets will need the likes of Darron Lee and Avery Williamson to keep an eye on McCoy when he comes out of the backfield. Leonard Williams will look to stuff the middle and keep him from getting it going early. He leads the Jets with eight tackles for a loss and has shown the ability to dominate an offensive line, even in the face of consistent double teams. Leonard is starting to break out in his fourth year.
If the Jets can shut down McCoy, it will be a rough day for the Bills offense. Peterman has not shown any consistency throwing the ball. He is prone to mistakes, and the Jets will look to capitalize on his poor decision making.
Next: 1. Robby Anderson vs. TreDavious White
1. Robby Anderson vs. TreDavious White
Darnold is sitting this one out with a sprained foot, so Josh McCown is going to get the nod. Last year, Robby Anderson had a breakout year with McCown at the helm. It would be no surprise if they picked up where they left off in this one.
TreDavious White has been a reliable cornerback in his first two seasons as a starting NFL corner. He had four interceptions and 18 passes defended in his first year. He has followed that up with an interception and six passes defended so far this year. White is consistently shadowing opposing teams’ number one receivers and has done an admirable job.
Not known for his speed, White has the ability to be beaten deep. Everyone knows Anderson has big-play potential, so if the Jets can get him one on one with White, look for them to test him. Robby should be able to take advantage of this matchup.
If the Jets can win these matchups, they will be in great position to get the win heading into their bye week. You better believe Bowles will have his boys ready to go in this one. If they don’t, heads will roll in East Rutherford, and these already frustrated fans will be calling for a coaching change. It’s now or never for Bowles and the Jets.