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Scouting Report Wk 1: Bills-Jets

Posted Sep 8, 2017

Buffalo's season opener comes against a division opponent that might not look all that familiar anymore.


Top 3 Individual Matchups
1 – Charles Clay vs. Jamal Adams
Clay is expected to be an even bigger part of the offense this season and will see a lot of the Jets top draft choice in Adams in the passing game.

2 – Cordy Glenn vs. Muhammad Wilkerson
Buffalo’s left tackle is ready to go after a long offseason with a foot ailment and ankle rehabilitation. He draws a heck of a Week 1 assignment in the Jets Pro Bowl defensive end.

3 – Jordan Matthews vs. Buster Skrine
For Matthews, the opener will be his debut in a Bills uniform after a sternum injury kept him sidelined for the preseason. Buster Skrine moves inside when the Jets face three receiver sets. Matthews should have the upper hand.

Top 2 Bills Advantages
Good advantage: Pass rush
Buffalo is back in a 4-3 scheme, which fits their personnel much better up front. All four down linemen can get up field to put heat on the quarterback. Jerry Hughes has a big matchup edge on Jets LT Brandon Shell. The Jets gave up 11 sacks in the preseason. 

Best advantage: Run game
Though the Jets have a quality defensive line, their linebackers are not as stout in stopping the run at the second level. Buffalo returns all five offensive line starters from their league-leading rushing attack of 2016. Putting New York’s defensive line on the move should create lanes for LeSean McCoy and Mike Tolbert to exploit.  

Bills Number 1 Must
Run defense
If Buffalo can neutralize the gains of Matt Forte and Bilal Powell on first and second down, it will put undue pressure on QB Josh McCown to carry the offense and allow the Bills pass rush to tee off on the Jets signal caller. The Bills allowed just 3.11 yards per carry in the preseason, good for third in the league.

Scouting Eye
Career Journeyman
Jets starting QB Josh McCown will make it eight teams for whom he has started in his NFL career, when he steps under center for the Jets on Sunday. Unfortunately for McCown winning hasn’t followed him from team to team of late.

Since 2014, McCown has the worst winning percentage of any starting quarterback with at least 15 starts. He’s just 2-20 over that span for a 9.1 percent winning percentage.

Late additions
The Jets tried to prop up their largely unproven receiving corps via trade and free agency. Just before the close of the preseason New York traded DL Sheldon Richardson to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for WR Jermaine Kearse and a second-round pick.

The Jets also signed free agent Jeremy Kerley, who was released by San Francisco. Kerley is in his second stint with the Jets. The slot receiver and return man was a Jets fourth-round draft choice in 2010.

Heavy turnover
While Buffalo’s roster has turned over under new head coach Sean McDermott, it hasn’t been close to the degree of change by the Jets. New York has parted ways with 10 starters from their 2016 team including Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker on offense along with three starting offensive linemen. On defense, they released veteran LB David Harris, CB Darrelle Revis and both starting safeties. All told, the players lost accounted for 109 starts last year.

Rookie centerfielders
They’re unquestionably talented, but can they be victimized in the pass game? That’s what Jets opponents will be wondering about New York’s rookie safety tandem of Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye. They were two of the more highly touted safeties in the 2017 NFL draft class, but their college resumes won’t mean much to opposing quarterbacks. Adams and Maye are likely to be tested early and often.

Underrated weapon
Matt Forte was one of New York’s notable offseason signings in 2016, but it was Bilal Powell who wound up leading the team in yards from scrimmage last year with 1,110. Powell had a 122-yard rushing day in his last game against Buffalo at the close of last season.   

Buffalo Chips
Quote of the week:
“When our fans turn the TV on or when they see us in the stadium, that they see the team that they see a team that plays hard. They see a team that plays fundamentally sound. They see a team that plays as a team and plays together.”
--Head coach Sean McDermott

Stat of the week:
If Cordy Glenn, Richie Incognito, Eric Wood, John Miller and Jordan Mills start, it’ll be the first time since 1987-88 (LT Will Wolford, LG Jim Ritcher, C Kent Hull, RG Tim Vogler, RT Joe Devlin) the Bills have started the same offensive line in consecutive Kickoff Weekend games.

Milestones in reach
The Bills need a rushing touchdown for their 13th consecutive game with a rushing touchdown. The team’s current streak of 12 is the longest active streak in the NFL. If they reach 13 it would tie a team record set over a span from Sept. 7 – Nov. 30, 1980.

Stephen Hauschka needs a field goal for his 20th consecutive game with a field goal – currently (at 19) has the longest active streak in the NFL.

LeSean McCoy needs one rushing touchdown to extend his consecutive home game streak to seven. That would tie OJ Simpson for the longest streak in Bills history (7). It would also be the longest active streak in the NFL.

Tyrod Taylor (1,148) needs 27 yards to pass Joe Ferguson (1,174) for the most rushing yards by a quarterback in Bills history.

Final Note:
In 2016 the Bills averaged almost 31 points per game at home (30.8) and just over 19 points per game on the road (19.1). It was one of the largest home-to-away point differentials in the league ( 11.7).

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