The 2-7 Buffalo Bills will be traveling to New Jersey to take on the 3-6 New York Jets for a Week 10 NFL showdown. This game has all the ingredients to be an incredibly boring one (which may mean it will inevitably be a barn-burner), with the first-round QBs of both teams likely sitting because of injuries. Today, I’ll look at how the Bills’ defense matches up versus the struggling Jets offense:
The Jets enter Week 10 ranked 13th in the league in total rushing yards with 990 and 16th with 110.0 rushing yards per game. They have scored six rushing TDs on the year, and they average 4.1 yards per carry as a team, the 23rd-best mark in the league. New York is also tied for 2nd in most fumbles with six, not a good combination against a Bills defense which is tied for 3rd in the league in takeaways with 13, with seven being fumbles.
The Jets’ leading rusher in 2018 is Isaiah Crowell, with 533 yards and five TDs on the year. The former Cleveland Brown has a good 5.0 yards per carry average but is struggling lately, not having been able to rush for 50 yards or score a TD in the last four games. With Bilal Powell landing on injured reserve, New York’s change of pace back is Elijah McGuire, recently activated from the IR. In his first action on the year last week, he gained 30 yards on seven carries, but he isn’t a true difference maker with potential to scare the Bills’ defense, ranked 6th in the league with just 3.9 rushing yards per attempt allowed.
The offensive line is struggling with injuries. Tackles Kelvin Beachum and Brandon Shell and guard James Carpenter are all listed on this week’s injury report, but only Carpenter was limited; both tackles were full participants in activities. The Bills’ defensive line should miss defensive end Trent Murphy for yet another week, but his replacement, Shaq Lawson, is actually an upgrade against the run. Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds should be back in the lineup, making the unit even stronger. Buffalo has all the pieces to be able to stop the Jets’ rushing attack.
For the first time in 2018, New York will not have the 3rd overall pick, Sam Darnold, starting at QB; he’ll be out with a sprained foot. The rookie has been struggling badly lately, especially with interceptions; he threw four last week versus the Dolphins. Despite having a clean game versus the Bears in Week 8, against the Vikings in Week 7 he threw another three INTs and fumbled the ball twice. Given the struggles of his rookie season, veteran Josh McCown should be an upgrade over Darnold at this point. It’ll be his first action on the year, but it doesn’t look like he’s going to have a good time next Sunday.
New York’s two leading receivers, Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa, are injured and didn’t practice this week, making their status for the game doubtful. The Jets’ third leader in receiving yards this season, Terrelle Pryor, plays for the Bills now. McCown will be in a really tough situation without any playmakers facing a strong Bills defensive unit.
The highest graded edge defenders in the NFL so far this season. pic.twitter.com/sYrmwHXyrW— PFF (@PFF) November 7, 2018
To have any chance in the game, the Jets’ improved OL will need to have a good game versus the Bills’ tenacious pass rush. According to Pro Football Focus, Lorenzo Alexander continues to be a top-five edge rusher in 2018, with an 88.1 overall grade. On the other side, Jerry Hughes continues terrorizing opposing tackles, and he will test the Jets’ top-graded offensive lineman, LT Kelvin Beachum, in what should be a fun matchup to keep an eye on next Sunday.
.@Iam_jerryhughes ranks 2nd among edge defenders with a minimum 90 pass-rush snaps with a grade of 90.1. He's one of only 2 edge players with a 90.0+ grade. Here are his pass-rush stats through 9 weeks.— PFF BUF Bills (@PFF_Bills) November 8, 2018
Pressure % 20.4% 1st
Win % 24.1% 1st
Pressures 44 2nd
Isaiah Crowell isn’t a threat receiving the ball out of the backfield; McGuire is the most dangerous back in this department. Rookie TE Chris Herndon is a promising weapon in the red zone, having scored three TDs on the season already. In all, I would be surprised if the Bills’ defense has much trouble against this Jets offense that’s missing its top targets.
This should be one of the easiest matchups for this unit on all season long. The Bills’ defense enters Week 10 ranked 4th overall in DVOA; they should do their job and shut down this Jets’ offense decimated by injuries.