The Buffalo Bills enter Week 14 coming off a Week 13 that could not have gone better for them. They had a dominating 24-10 win in Foxborough on Thursday, then saw the Chiefs and Dolphins lose on Sunday, putting Buffalo back in first place in the AFC standings. The Bills look to build on that momentum when they welcome the New York Jets to Orchard Park on Sunday in another AFC East showdown. With that, here are five storylines to keep an eye on when things kick off Sunday afternoon in Western New York.
The Bills entered last week 0-2 in the division, one of just two teams in the AFC without a division win entering Week 13. That all changed with the victory in New England. Buffalo now has a chance to even their divisional mark at 2-2 if they can down the Jets Sunday. Our friends over at BetUS.com have the home-standing Bills as a nine-point favorite with an over/under of 44. Those numbers indicate an implied score of 26.5 to 17.5 in favor of Buffalo. New York topped Buffalo back in Week 9 20-17 over in New Jersey, so revenge is also on the table in this one.
We’re Going Streaking
The Bills stubbed their toe, maybe their entire foot, when they lost back-to-back games to New York and Minnesota in Weeks 9 and 10. Since then, Buffalo has won three straight, including the weird scheduling quirk that saw them win twice in Detroit in four days. Couple those victories with the one over the Patriots and all of a sudden the Bills have ripped off three straight. Three in a row may not sound all that impressive, but it makes Buffalo the only team in the AFC East that isn’t coming off of a loss, and the three consecutive wins are tied with the Raiders for the second most in the conference, only behind the four in a row of the Bengals. Let’s steal a line, sort of, from Dory and “just keep winning.”
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Jets rookie corner Sauce Gardner may have already locked up the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award, and we’re only entering Week 14. The fourth overall pick currently has the best coverage grade of 88.9, according to Pro Football Focus (PFF). He is also second among all corners in reception percentage giving up just 43.4%. What might be most impressive is that he has an 8.8% miss tackle rate, per PFF. Looking back on his game against the Bills, Gardner gave up just one catch on three targets. How New York decides to use him and what Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis, and the Bills can do against him will go a long way in determining this game.
Let James Cook
You can argue that rookie running back James Cook has been the Bills’ best backfield weapon in two of their last three games. The second-round pick put up 64 rushing yards on 14 carries and added 41 yards receiving on six catches in last week’s win. As Sean McDermott, Ken Dorsey, and Josh Allen gain more confidence in the Georgia product, we should see his stats continue to go up. No time better than against a division rival that you lost to for a breakout game.
Shut Your Pie Hole
We should never let Twitter be the voice of how people are reacting or interacting about a topic, but fans of the other AFC East teams have been insanely obnoxious about Buffalo’s two losses in the division. Just as Patriots fans now have to be quiet after last week’s win for the Bills, Buffalo can do the same to Jets fans on Sunday, and I know a mafia that would love for that to be the case.
BONUS: The Bills’ health is going to be a topic we could discuss before every contest until the end of the season. Unfortunately, it appears this team is going to be dinged up until they report to camp in 2023.