I hate the term “must-win game” when the game is, in fact, not a must-win. However, the 5-5 Buffalo Bills are getting close to having to win out, especially if they were to get swept on the season by the 4-5 New York Jets, who they host on Sunday at 4:25. Buffalo currently sit as seven-point favorites over the green team from New Jersey, but the Bills were also favorites against the Bengals and Broncos, so that’s worth about as much as the paper it was printed on. None of that matters come Sunday. All that counts is that the Bills score is bigger than the Jets. How do they achieve that? I take a stab at what new OC Joe Brady, Sean McDermott, and company need to do in my five keys to a Bills win when they kick off with the Jets on Sunday at 4:25.
Get off the Field
The Jets are the worst team in the NFL at getting off the field on third down at converting just 25% of their opportunities. What might be the wildest thing about third-down percentage is that the Jets aren’t just bad, they are over five percent worse than the 31st-place New York Giants who sit at 30.5%. The Bills need to take advantage of this, and GET OFF THE FIELD!
As bad as the Jets are at getting off the field on third down is how bad they also are in the red zone. New York scores a touchdown on just 22.7% of their trips inside the 20. To extrapolate that further, the Jets score just .6 red zone touchdowns per game. That is almost half a touchdown per game worse than the 31st-ranked Steelers.
Entering Sunday, the Jets are 22nd in yards per rush allowed at 4.3. Their 134.8 rushing yards per game allowed are next to last in the league. For the Bills, they have averaged 125 yards per game on the ground over their last three, which ranks eighth. Over that same span, Buffalo is third in the league in yards per carry at 5.5. So, adding it all together and running the rock is an advantageous decision for the Bills.
Value the football (JOSH!)
If there is one reason the Bills lost 22-16 in overtime to the Jets in Week 1, it is the three terrible picks Josh Allen threw. If you take any one of those away, the Bills probably win the game. So, Joshua Patrick Allen, please take care of the ball.
The Jets have been outscored 44-6 in the first quarter of their five losses this season. All six of their points came in a 16-12 loss to Las Vegas. New York held a 6-3 lead in that game after the first 15 minutes. The Jets are also only scoring 16 points per game, the 30th worst in the NFL, so if Buffalo can jump out to an early lead, they will be set up to play hide and seek.