The New York Jets will face the Buffalo Bills in Week 1. Before we get there, we’re joined by Sal Capaccio to answer the top 5 questions in this game.
After all the hype and speculation, Week 1 of the 2019 season has finally arrived. Which means the New York Jets will open up their season at home vs the Buffalo Bills.
Per the ESPN FPI Analytics, the Jets are considered a 67 percent favorite to win its Week 1 matchup. Those analytics translate to gang green being a three-point favorite on the betting line.
To get a better scope of what kind of Bills team will be entering MetLife Stadium on Sunday, we spoke with Buffalo Bills Sideline reporter Sal Capaccio. In this column, we’ll explore the top five questions heading into this matchup.
Make sure you follow Sal Capaccio on Twitter (@SalSports), like and follow his Facebook page here to read all of his articles and opinions on the team. Also on top of his written and video work, Sal will be contributing to WGR 550:
- Hosting The Extra Point Show every Monday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. reacting to the latest Buffalo Bills game.
- On top of weekly segments on “Sit Up and Stand Down” as well as “HEY, BUDDY!“
Next: Shady McCoy gone
1. The LeSean McCoy release seemed like a total shocker from the outside looking in, was it that way for you guys covering the team? Follow up question, does this say more about what age has done to Shady or that Devin Singletary is ready to be THE man for Buffalo this season?
It was actually expected for many months by a lot of people both locally and nationally, especially after they drafted Singletary in the third round, given McCoy‘s age and salary. But once we got this deep into the preseason it didn’t seem like it was going to happen. So it wasn’t a complete shock, but definitely surprising at the time.
But I think this is more about Singletary than it is McCoy. Essentially, Shady was an expensive insurance policy while they evaluated the rookie to see if he could be the player they envisioned when they drafted him. Once he proved he could be a three-down back, it just made LeSean expendable. He still has some left and can play, so it wasn’t about that. It was about moving on to the future running back who they feel is ready now, especially with Frank Gore already here as a mentor and sharing the load.
Next: Bills O-Line revamped
2. The Buffalo Bills completely revamped their offensive line, how much better is it on paper than last year? Also, Mitch Morse has battled a ton of concussions in his career, what’s the confidence level that he can remain healthy and be that key cog for Buffalo in 2019 and beyond?
It’s light years better. Last year, they were starting guys that are currently not even on NFL teams. Now they have some backups that could start for other teams. The chemistry is still a work in progress because they had some injuries during camp and preseason, but it’s so much better talent-wise and with depth. They really attacked the OL during free agency and then the draft with Cody Ford in the second round.
There’s obviously a lot of concern about Morse. Not just with the number of concussions he’s had but even that he’s thinking about his own future. He admitted he had a lot of deep thoughts and conversations about that, but says he’s in a much better place in that regard now and is ready to go. It’s definitely something we are all going to be monitoring going forward.
Next: New look WRs for Bills
3. Speaking of revamping, that’s what the Bills did at wide receiver. On the surface, it seems odd to pair big boy Josh Allen with smaller wide receivers, but is there a method to the madness with that decision? Also, how have Cole Beasley and John Brown looked throughout the offseason?
Absolutely a method. And it started last year. They started the season with receivers who were taller with bigger catch radiuses like Kelvin Benjamin and Andre Holmes. But those guys had trouble separating and getting open. Later in the year, they shifted more to the smaller, shiftier guys who could get open and give Allen more room to throw. And it really worked out. He was much better with that personnel. That’s what their banking on, that that will continue. Beasley will be a big help for him. But Allen has to learn to take the easy throw and check-down, which is what they’ve been working on a lot this offseason.
Next: Josh Allen taking next step
4. What’s the next step for Josh Allen and what are expectations in 2019 (whether statistical or just in general)?
It’s really what I just referenced above. We all know he has a big arm. He can make any throw on the field. But sometimes he wants to play “hero ball” and make the big play when he doesn’t have to. He has to learn to take easy money when it’s there. He’s never going to be the most accurate QB in the world, but they didn’t draft him to be that. That said, he still needs to be more accurate overall, but that should hopefully come with the change in personnel I noted, as well as taking the easier throws the defense is giving to him.
Next: Details on Bills defense
5. The defense appears to be the lynchpin for the Buffalo Bills. This team has elite playmakers on every level, but are they as good as advertised? Point blank, how good can this unit be? Who are some of the players that people know and don’t know about that are going to be x-factors on Sunday vs the New York Jets and beyond?
Well, they were the No. 2 overall defense in the NFL last year. That really went unnoticed by most people because of their 6-10 record. If it wasn’t for that defense they would have won maybe a couple of games. Now they return 11 of 12 starters (counting the nickel CB position), and the only one they didn’t return, Kyle Williams, retired and was replaced by one of the best DL in college football in Ed Oliver. They also return their defensive coordinator. So all of those players and the DC all back together from the second-ranked defense means anything less than near the top of the league again will be a disappointment.
The secondary is terrific with Tre’Davious White and Levi Wallace on the corners and Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer at safety. But I don’t think their two linebackers get nearly enough credit. Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano.
Milano is always around the ball and Edmunds should take a huge step this year, going into year two. He was the youngest player to ever start on NFL opening weekend last year at 20 years old. He’s a monster and just turned 21 this offseason.