Top 3 Individual Matchups
1. Santonio Holmes vs. Drayton Florence –Holmes was serving the final game of his league-imposed four game suspension when the Jets first faced the Bills in Week 4. Since his return he's become the top target in the Jets' passing game posting over 50 catches in 11 games and five touchdowns.
2. Bryan Thomas vs. Mansfield Wrotto –Thomas has been hot of late in the pass rushing department with a sack in each of his last three games and now leads the team with six. Wrotto will need to have one of his better performances knowing he's likely to be in some one-on-one situations with New York's widespread pass rush talent.
3. Nick Mangold vs. Kyle Williams –After being passed over for the Pro Bowl, Buffalo's nose tackle is likely to take his frustrations out on the Jets' three-time Pro Bowl center. Among the leaders in tackles and sack amongst defensive tackles, the Mangold-Williams matchup is one to watch.
Bills Top 2 Advantages
Good Advantage –Red zone defense – Buffalo has slipped a bit defensively when it comes to keeping their opponents out of the end zone once they've cracked the Bills 20-yard line, but the Jets have been struggling from in close. New York has an AFC worst red zone touchdown percentage of 37.8% converting touchdowns on just 17 of their 45 red zone possessions this season.
Best Advantage - Pass defense – Granted part of why Buffalo's pass defense is ranked fourth in the league is because opponents have so much success on the ground, but the Bills secondary has picked up their play in the second half, and knowing that Mark Sanchez is unlikely to play more than a half gives Buffalo an edge.
Bills Number 1 Must
Pass protection –Running the ball on the Jets is usually a difficult task, so holding up in pass protection to give Buffalo's aerial attack enough time to execute will be essential. The Bills will need to spread the Jets out in an effort to keep more potential rushers out of the box, perhaps allowing Buffalo to mix in the run game (out of the spread look) effectively enough to keep New York from teeing off on the quarterback.
Sitting them downJets head coach Rex Ryan has yet to make up his mind on just how much starting QB Mark Sanchez will play, if at all, due to a sore throwing shoulder. He wants to keep his young signal caller in a good rhythm for the playoffs and is hesitant to sit him altogether despite knowing they've already clinched a Wild Card playoff berth.
Other players who stand a good chance of playing only part time at best are DE Shaun Ellis, RT Damien Woody, CB Antonio Cromartie, CB Darrelle Revis, NT Sione Pouha, DL Trevor Pryce and S Eric Smith.
Run down?The Jets are still the league's fifth-best run defense, but the Chicago Bears may have exposed them a bit in their 38-34 victory over New York. The Bears were successful on the ground pulling guards on several run plays and effectively used their tight ends to seal the edges for Matt Forte. The result was Forte becoming the first individual 100-yard rusher against the Jets this season.
Quick strikesNew York was also susceptible to the big pass play last week against Chicago. Five of the Bears six scoring drives lasted three minutes or less. The Jets gave up scoring plays of 22, 25, 26 and 40 yards in the four-point loss last week, as they have now dropped three of their last four games.
Deep threatsIt's tough enough when you're facing one of the better deep threats in football, but to face two of them on the same team is a really tough task. The Jets boast receivers that rank first and second in yards per catch since 2005. Santonio Holmes ranks first over the past six seasons with a 16 yards per catch average. His teammate Braylon Edwards is right behind him with an average of 15.7 yards per reception. Back in Week 4, Edwards caught a 41-yard touchdown pass in the Jets victory.
Run game sluggishThe Jets running game still ranks very high at sixth in the league, but over the second half of the season the production has tailed off. In the first seven games New York's two primary ball carriers combined for 889 yards on just 185 carries (4.8 avg.) with six touchdowns.
Over the past eight games LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene have managed just 791 yards on 210 carries (3.6 avg.) and two touchdowns. New York's offensive line has remained largely intact for much of the season, but the yards per carry average has suffered.
Tomlinson's yards per carry average in particular has dropped almost two full yards. In the first seven games he was averaging five yards per carry (108 car. - 544 yds). In his last eight he's averaging just 3.3 yards per rush (111 car. – 370 yds). Greene has also seen a drop off, but not as dramatic losing a half yard off his average (4.48 to 3.9).
Breaking things upSince Week 4 the Jets have been locking down opposing passing attacks when it comes to stringing plays together. From Oct. 3rd on New York has held opposing teams to a completion percentage of just 49.5, which is a league best over that 12-week span. In Week 4, the Jets held Buffalo to a completion percentage of 44 percent, and that was without Darrelle Revis in the lineup.
Quote of the Week"Any time you play a division game against a team, I've said this before about other division teams, they don't like us and we don't like them. You want to win. Any time you play a division opponent you want to win the game. I don't care when it is, early, late you want to win that game because eventually those are the people you have to beat to get where you want to get to."
*--Head coach Chan Gailey
Stat of the Week*The Jets have averaged 251 rushing yards per game in their last four meetings with the Bills (156 car. -1,005 yds – 6.44 avg.)
Milestones in reachRyan Fitzpatrick needs two touchdown passes to become the third quarterback in team history to throw 25 touchdown passes in a season (Jim Kelly, Joe Ferguson).
Fred Jackson needs 108 rushing yards to reach 1,000 this season.
Stevie Johnson needs two touchdown receptions to set the franchise mark for most touchdown catches in a single season (11, Bill Brooks 1995).
Rian Lindell needs one field goal for 250 in his career.
Final NoteThe Bills tied a franchise record with six interceptions the last time they played the Jets at the Meadowlands.