Top 3 Individual Matchups
1 – Josh Allen vs. Darron Lee Buffalo’s rookie QB has terrorized the Bills last two opponents with his legs. The Jets would be foolish not to employ a spy linebacker on Allen to keep him from running all over New York when a play breaks down. Lee fits the bills best for that assignment as his 4.4 speed should enable him to corral Allen if he takes proper angles.
2 – Shaq Lawson vs. Robert Shell Lawson dominated the Jets former fifth-round pick in the first meeting. Buffalo’s left defensive end had a sack, two quarterback hits, a tackle for loss and a batted pass. Lawson is playing some of the best football of his career. Shell may need some help on the right side of the Jets formation.
3 – Tre’Davious White vs. Quincy Enunwa The Jets leading receiver returned to the lineup two weeks ago, but his play has been a bit uneven over the last two weeks. Sam Darnold will need Enunwa at his best facing Buffalo’s top corner.
Bills Top 2 Advantages
Good advantage – Third down defense Buffalo’s defense has been locking things down on third down this season. They rank eighth in the league in stopping opposing offenses, holding them to a conversion rate of just over 37 percent (37.3%). The Jets offense meanwhile ranks dead last in this statistic, converting just 29 percent of the time.
Best advantage – Pass defense Buffalo’s defensive unit has held their last four opponents to less than 150 net passing yards, and there’s a good chance that could continue knowing the Jets passing attack has struggled of late and ranks 30th in passing yards per game.
Bills Number 1 Must
Get McCoy rolling early Much like the first meeting between the Bills and Jets, Buffalo has to get LeSean McCoy going early in the game. McCoy scored on his first carry in a blowout win at New York and had his only 100-yard rushing effort of the season. If the Bills can duplicate that success, it will provide valuable balance to Buffalo’s attack.
Photos from Week 14 of the 2018 season as the Buffalo Bills prepare to play the Jets at New Era Field.
Darnold returns The much-anticipated matchup between rookie quarterbacks Josh Allen and Sam Darnold was compromised due to injury in the first meeting between the Bills and Jets. Allen was out with an elbow injury and Darnold was sidelined by a foot injury. Allen returned to the Buffalo lineup in Week 12, but this week will be Darnold’s first game back from a mid-foot sprain.
First down issues New York’s defensive front has struggled to minimize the gains of opposing offenses on first down this season. The Jets are giving up almost 6.5 yards a play on first down (6.4), which is the fifth-highest figure in the league. The Bills offense was a big beneficiary of this Jets deficiency in the first meeting as they averaged a gaudy 8.88 yards per play on first down in the first half of their 31-point victory in Week 10.
Seeing red The Jets offense has had trouble scoring points all season. Nowhere has it proven more difficult for Todd Bowles’ offense than in the red zone. New York is last in the league when it comes to reaching the end zone once they penetrate their opponents’ 20-yard line. The Jets have scored a league-low 11 touchdowns on 30 red zone possessions for a league-worst touchdown percentage of 36.7 percent.
No more than three New York’s offense also struggles in another key area. Converting on third down hasn’t even happened a third of the time for the Jets this season. With a success rate of less than 30 percent, the Jets go three-and-out on their offensive possessions (30.1%) more often than they actually convert third downs (29.4%). No team in the league has more three-and-outs than New York (46).
Bringing them back If there’s one area of New York’s team that has performed well, it’s their punt return unit. The Jets rank first in the league in punt return average, thanks in large part to return man, Andre Roberts. Currently averaging more than 15 yards a return, he has a touchdown to his credit back in Week 1 when he took a 78-yarder back against the Lions. Roberts has also had a big hand in helping the Jets rank fifth in the league in kick return average, where he’s got a return average of almost 26 yards (25.6).
Quote of the week “I’m not really going against Sam (Darnold). I’m going against the Jets defense and it’s a really good defense. They’re a lot better than their record shows. They’ve got some playmakers on that side of the football. We’ve got to prepare and be ready for whatever they throw at us. Whatever happened last game happened, and we’re not worried about the last game in New York. It’s a completely different ball game.”
--QB Josh Allen
Stat of the week The Bills are 4-0 this season when they score first. When their opponent scores first, they’re 0-8.
Milestones in reach With 95 yards rushing or more, Josh Allen will become the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era with three consecutive games of 95 yards on the ground or more.
LeSean McCoy needs 22 rushing yards to move into 25th place on the league’s all-time rushing list ahead of Thomas Jones (10,591).
Kyle Williams needs 1.5 sacks for 50 in his career.
Final note Zay Jones has three touchdowns in his last three games.