1 – Bills receiving corps grows with Benjamin
The Buffalo Bills blockbuster trade on Tuesday immediately upgrades the wide receiver position. At 26-years-old, Kelvin Benjamin has proved he is capable of being a number-one receiver in the league. Sitting with a 5-2 record the Bills have a legitimate receiving corps to contend for a playoff spot.
Benjamin and Bills GM, Brandon Beane, spent three seasons together with the Carolina Panthers prior to the 2017 season. Beane is well aware of the receiver they're getting with Benjamin.
"A fierce competitor, especially out there on the field. This guy is obviously very for big for his position, he's tough," Beane said. "I think if you guys can remember he took a big hit from Jordan Poyer in our game in Carolina, Week Two. He came back in that game, I didn't want him to come back, but he did come back."
The addition of Benjamin gives the Bills a serious one-two punch at the receiver position. He and Jordan Matthews will give quarterback Tyrod Taylor two reliable options. Benjamin and Matthews each entered the NFL in 2014. The duo has favorable stats going into their fourth season.
Benjamin has racked up 168 receptions, 2,424 yards, and 18 touchdowns in his four-year career. He did miss the entirety of the 2015 season with an ACL injury. The former first-round pick could very well serve as the team's first option at receiver. This season he has 32 receptions, 475 yards, and two touchdowns. Benjamin has more than twice as many receptions as the next Bills wide receiver (15).
Matthews, a former second-round pick, has had a strong start to his NFL career. He has 240 receptions, 2,866 yards, and 20 touchdowns in four seasons. He's one of five receivers all-time to record 65-plus receptions and 800-plus receiving yards in each of his first three NFL seasons. This year he has 15 receptions for 193 yards and a touchdown. He did miss a game due to a thumb injury. Matthews will likely become the number-two receiver on game days.
Buffalo's 53-man roster now boasts six receivers. Aside from Benjamin and Matthews, Andre Holmes, Brandon Tate, Deonte Thompson, and Zay Jones all have played a healthy amount.
The Bills GM said he'd leave it up to the coaches to determine if Benjamin would play Thursday against the New York Jets. If he doesn't play, he'll have well over a week to prepare for Buffalo's Week 10 home game against the New Orleans Saints. Beane likes what Benjamin will bring to the Bills offense.
"Size and experience, and excellent hands. When he's covered, he's still open," he said. "If you watch a lot of his catches, he's outsizing (the cornerback). This guy is 6-5 plus, 240 [pounds], so he's bigger than most. Like I said, he'll win the contested balls, and he's a very strong player."
2 - Positive words from Jets head coach
New York Jets head coach, Todd Bowles, addressed the New York media on Monday. He had nothing but good things to say about the Buffalo Bills as they prepare to face them on Thursday night.
"They're playing good football. They're tough, they're discipline, and they're running the ball very well," Bowles said. "Their quarterback is taking care of the football. The biggest thing is they don't turn it over and they're getting turnovers."
Bowles is in his third season coaching the Jets. He has faced the Bills five times, holding a record of 2-3. Thursday's game will give him an opportunity to tie up the series.
A notable question Bowles was asked was the impact the Marcell Dareus trade had on Buffalo's defense. He showed some respect for the Bills depth at defensive tackle.
"Not much has changed. They have [Cedric] Thornton and [Adolphus] Washington," he said. "They play good football down there. They have some good ball players."**
3 - Holmes has momentum heading into Thursday night
Buffalo's wide receiver, Andre Holmes, has a couple of reasons to be confident heading into Thursday's game against the New York Jets. For one, he's coming off his best game since joining the Bills. Secondly, he already reeled in a touchdown against the Jets earlier this season.
According to Pro Football Focus, Holmes had the third-highest yards per route in Week Eight. He mentioned on Tuesday the momentum he has going into the Week Nine matchup.
"I feel like I have a lot of momentum. I feel like in the past few weeks I've been ready to be called upon," he said. "It was nice to be able to go out there and make plays on both special teams and offense and have an impact. I'm really excited to go out there. Whether I have a chance to make plays or not I'm going to go out there and put in my best effort and play my best game."
Holmes' touchdown against the Jets came in Week One this season. He's been reviewing film this week to increase his chances of finding the end zone again.
"Yes, we've seen some of the clips from when we went against them," he said. "That was Week One. There's a lot of changes, possible injuries or whatever. You really want to look at all the games."
In his first season with the team Holmes leads the way in receiving touchdowns (3). He'll look to add his fourth score at MetLife Stadium on Thursday.
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