Scouting Report - Week 17 - Bills-Jets

Posted Jan 1, 2016

The Bills have taken each of the last four meetings against the Jets. A win Sunday would end the Jets current five-game winning streak.

Top 3 Individual Matchups
1 – Leodis McKelvin vs. Brandon Marshall
Buffalo’s veteran corner has faced Marshall before so he knows the big receiver’s physical post-up game well. McKelvin will be apt to take some chances in a game where the Bills have nothing to lose.

2 – Jordan Mills vs. Muhammad Wilkerson
This might be Mills’ toughest assignment in a Bills uniform. Wilkerson leads the Jets in sacks (12), QB hits (27) and tackles for loss (11). He’ll need assistance from Kraig Urbik with John Miller unlikely to line up at right guard.

3 – Sammy Watkins vs. Darrelle Revis
Watkins wasn’t able to capitalize on a few opportunities in the first matchup as the timing with Tyrod Taylor wasn’t air tight. His rapport with Taylor is significantly improved and could create some major problems for Revis the second time around.

Bills Top 2 Advantages
Good advantage – Run game
The Jets had the number one run defense in the first matchup with the Bills, as they do now, and Buffalo ripped off 148 yards on the ground, the highest total surrendered by New York this season. The Bills top ranked rushing attack is coming off back-to-back 200-yard rushing games without LeSean McCoy for six of the last eight quarters.  

Best advantage – Big play ability
The Jets are a stout defense in many areas, but they have been susceptible to big plays in the passing game. New York ranks 27th in the league in pass plays allowed of 20 yards or more. They’ve given up a total of 57. Buffalo ranks sixth in the NFL this season with 68 plays of 20 yards or more.

Bills Number 1 Must
Run it well
Buffalo’s offensive line has to win the line of scrimmage battle in the run game, which is easier said than done against the league’s top ranked run defense. The Bills are unlikely to have LeSean McCoy, who made a lot of yards on his own in the first meeting, but the men up front have jelled and been a lot more consistent down the stretch. Karlos Williams and Mike Gillislee have been a productive combination to give Buffalo a chance to grind clock and sustain long scoring drives.

Scouting Eye
Deadly tandem
New York’s receiving duo of Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall have been wildly productive this season combining for more than 2,300 yards receiving on 176 receptions and 24 touchdowns. The two veteran wideouts set a record for most games in which they have each posted touchdown catches with eight, eclipsing the mark set by former Minnesota wideouts Cris Carter and Randy Moss. Both Marshall and Decker had touchdowns in the first game with Buffalo.

Fitz firing
The Jets have won their last five games in a row and at the center of that success has been QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. The ex-Bills signal caller during the five-game winning streak has completed 64.5 percent of his passes for more than 1,500 yards with 13 touchdowns and just one interception. That’s been good for a passer rating of 106.5. Only Russell Wilson and Blake Bortles have thrown more touchdown passes in that span than Fitzpatrick. Fitz has also fared well against the blitz this season posting a passer rating of 94.5, which ranks 11th best in the league.

Big red
The red zone is a crucial area of the field. It’s also where the Jets play some of their best football both on offense and defense. New York ranks second in red zone touchdown efficiency as they reach the end zone more than two thirds of the time (66.7%). Their 34 touchdowns scored in the red zone is fifth-most in the league.

On defense they’re even more successful ranking number one in defending the red zone. The Jets defense has allowed a league low 12 touchdowns in the red zone this season. They allow opponents to score six in the red zone just 33 percent of the time. The Jets also lead the league in red zone takeaways with seven.

Taking them
New York’s takeaways don’t just happen in the red zone. The Jets have 29 takeaways this season, which ranks third in the league. Their 18 interceptions are good for fourth most in football. More importantly the Jets have been very efficient in turning those takeaways into points. New York has scored 88 points over turnovers this season, good for third most in the league.

Hobbled run game
The Jets have the 11th ranked rushing attack in the NFL this season, but they come into the last regular season game a bit hobbled. Bilal Powell, who missed the first meeting with the Bills has a very sore ankle per head coach Todd Bowles. He did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday. Starting RB Chris Ivory has been battling through a nagging knee injury that has compromised some of his power as a straight ahead runner.

Stevan Ridley got his most extensive work last week for the Jets and might be filling a larger role on Sunday depending on Powell’s availability. New York ranks last in the league when it comes to the percentage of rushes that gain four yards or more, as they reach that mark just over 37 percent of the time.

Third down dominance
New York’s defense has been getting off the field pretty effectively on third down. The Jets rank second in the NFL in third down defense allowing conversions just over 32 percent of the time. Defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers’ unit has allowed the fifth-fewest third down conversions this season (68) and the fewest passing first downs in the league (57). The Jets have also been the best in the league when it’s come to total first downs allowed with just 253 surrendered all season.

Buffalo Chips
Quote of the week
“We’ve just got to go out there and play. We’re not in the playoffs, but we’re building something here. Everybody knows we’ve got to go out like any other game, it’s still football. Football doesn’t stop because we’re not in the playoffs and I think that’s the biggest part with our team. We understand that we’ve got to go out and build a foundation for ourselves for the next year.”
WR Sammy Watkins

Stat of the week
The Bills have won their last four meetings with the Jets averaging 35 points per game.

Milestones in reach
If Karlos Williams gains seven yards rushing, the Bills will have three players with over 500 yards rushing (LeSean McCoy - 895, Tyrod Taylor - 517, Karlos Williams - 493) for the first time since 1962 (Cookie Gilchrist - 1,096, Wayne Crow -589, Wray Carlton - 530)

Tyrod Taylor needs 147 passing yards to total 3,000 for the season. That would tie Jim Kelly and Doug Flutie for the third fewest games (14) needed to reach 3,000 passing yards as a Bill.

Sammy Watkins needs two receiving touchdowns to tie for the most by a Bill (Bill Brooks, 11; 1995) in one season and to have the most receiving touchdowns by a Bill in his first two seasons (17).

Final note
The Jets rank 31st in the NFL in points allowed outside the red zone giving up 135. The Bills rank tops in the league in points scored outside the red zone with 191 this season.