Matching Up – Bills Offense vs. Jets Defense

11/11/2018
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The Buffalo Bills are going to take on the New York Jets at Metlife Stadium in New Jersey on Sunday. After looking at the defensive matchup, it’s time to look at how Buffalo’s offense matches up versus New York defense:

Ground game

The Bills’ running game is ranked 23rd in the league, gaining only 97.3 yards per game. Star running back LeSean McCoy is coming off of two really frustrating games, in which he rushed for a pitiful 23 yards on 22 attempts. The offensive line is struggling to open rushing lanes and hold their blocks. This, combined with McCoy’s tendencies to dance in the backfield, trying to hit on big plays, has been resulting in big problems for the team’s offense.

The offensive line will have changes, with rookie guard Wyatt Teller taking over the LG spot over Vlad Ducasse. RT Jeremiah Sirles could take the starting spot from Jordan Mills, too, after showing some promise last Sunday. Those moves should help the unit, one of the worst in the entire league.

Running back Chris Ivory, the most productive Bills rusher on the year, is listed as questionable and should miss the game with a shoulder injury. This is bad news in a week where the team will need to face a defensive line led by Leonard Williams and Steve McLendon. The duo is the biggest reason the Jets have been allowing just 4.1 yards per carry on the year, the 11th-best mark in the NFL. Another reason for New York’s success slowing down opposing running games is the play of their young safeties, Marcus Maye and Jamal Adams. Both are very good in the run support department.

If Ivory really can’t play, then Marcus Murphy should receive some opportunities, but Shady will have the bulk of the snaps. The OL changes will have a direct impact on this matchup. So far, I’m not very confident in the Bills’ chances here.

Advantage: Jets

 

Passing game

Josh Allen practiced this week but was ruled out of the game. Matt Barkley, the recent free agent addition, will receive an opportunity as the starter over Nathan Peterman, who didn’t take advantage of his opportunities. Derek Anderson is also out; he still is in the concussion protocol.

In an interview, McCoy talked about how important it will be for Barkley to have help from his offensive teammates. He had just two weeks of preparation and should operate a very limited playbook, similar to the situation Anderson faced a few weeks ago against the Colts. It’ll be a huge challenge for the Bills’ passing game against a ball-hawking Jets secondary ranked 3rd in the league with 14 interceptions on the year. They have an experienced trio of cornerbacks in Trumaine Johnson, Morris Claiborne, and Buster Skrine. The major reason for their success, though, is the safety duo of Adams and Maye. It’s one of the most talented pairs of safeties in the league, and it shows on the field every Sunday.

Tight end Charles Clay will be out injured, so Jason Croom and Logan Thomas will replace him. They will have difficulties against the safeties mentioned above, and the Jets linebackers, too. Darron Lee and Avery Williamson have the speed necessary to keep up with them in coverage. Outside, Terrelle Pryor will face his old teammates and will endeavor to prove himself after a poor start with the Bills last week. Zay Jones had his strongest game as a rookie versus the Jets last year. He’ll be the best option in this game, especially lining up in the slot versus Skrine.

New York doesn’t have any major threats rushing the passer from the edges. Outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins leads the team with 4.5 sacks, but the team relies too much on blitzes to pressure opposing QBs. Barkley will need to recognize from where the pressure is coming pre-snap and make quick decisions, or he’ll have a lot of trouble. The Jets have the speed on their defense to take advantage of a not-so-mobile QB holding the ball for too long behind a weak OL.

Advantage: Jets

 

Overall

It’s difficult to give the Bills’ offense any advantage after watching their struggles week after week. The Jets’ defense isn’t the dominant unit it once was, but they have the speed and some talented pieces to make this Bills group’s life miserable. Matt Barkley should have trouble starting with so little practice time, but Peterman can’t be an option on the table anymore. This should be a defensive battle where the team that commits fewer mistakes should win. On defense, the Jets soundly have the advantage over the Bills’ woeful offense.

Advantage: Jets

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