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Top 7 storylines for Bills vs. Jets | Week 17

Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown (15) touchdown Buffalo Bills at New York Jets, September 8, 2019 Metlife Stadium. Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes
Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown (15) touchdown Buffalo Bills at New York Jets, September 8, 2019 Metlife Stadium. Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes

The Buffalo Bills will close their regular season with a chance to finish with an 11-5 record for the first time since 1999.

Sean McDermott announced that the starters will play on Sunday but he did not designate how long.

Here are some of the storylines for this week as the Bills get set to play the Jets:

1. YOU MAY NEED A PROGRAM

Head Coach Sean McDermott said the starters will play in Sunday's Jets game. However, he did not designate how long guys will play. He acknowledged that some will play more than others.

There's a strong argument to play the backups against the Jets and let some of the starters rest. There's an equally strong argument to play the regulars for one more tune up during the regular season, especially on offense.

Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier says it's a tough call.

"It's a quandary, a little bit," Frazier said this week. "You want the guys to stay sharp, and at the same time you're always concerned about injuries, especially in a game that really is not going to change your status when it comes to the playoffs. So, it's something that I know Sean [McDermott] and Brandon [Beane] are discussing, how we go about it and what we should get done over the course of this week. Whatever decision they make, that's the one we'll follow. But you're always concerned about injuries and keeping the guys sharp and trying to balance that this time of year."

2. MAYBE A SHOWCASE FOR YOUNG BILLS?

There are plenty of young Bills who would welcome some extra reps in the regular season. Among them — quarterback Matt Barkley, who only played in mop-up duty against the Patriots this year. He started and played in one game last year, also, against the Jets. If he plays this week, Barkley would welcome the chance to sharpen up his skills in regular season action.

Others on offense include CFL veteran Duke Williams who has been inactive the last eight weeks. Running back T.J. Yeldon who has been inactive for ten weeks since the Titans game.

On defense, there may be a prominent role for backup Jaquan Johnson, who's played every game since week four, but may see increased time on defense to give Jordan Poyer or Micah Hyde a breather this week.

3. CHANCE TO SWEEP THE JETS

The Bills can sweep the Jets for the first time since 2014 if they beat them this week. They bounced back from a 16-0 deficit to knock off the New Yorkers back in the season opener in September. Buffalo sacked Jets quarterback Sam Darold in that game and won it 17-16.

The Bills will try to sweep the Jets for the first time since the 2015 season.

4. DEVELOPMENT SINCE WEEK ONE

The Bills can reflect on that season-opening win this week and reflect on how much they've grown. Head coach Sean McDermott says the growth has been significant.

"I think about that game and I think where we grew within that game honestly, and then how we've grown since that time," McDermott said this week. "You look at the highs and you look at the lows and you say, 'Hey, we've had some really high highs and we've had some challenges like every year.'

"Even the challenges," he continued, "you look at how this team has fought in four of the five losses, it's been down to the last possession, and we've had a chance to go in to tie it or win at the end of the last possession. And so, there's a lot of good to that. We've made a lot of progress to get us to where we are throughout the course of one season."

5. JETS DEVELOPMENT NOT AS APPARENT

On the other side, the Jets are struggling to find signs of progress this year. They have won five of seven, but the wins have come against the likes of the Giants, Washington, and Miami.

First year head coach Adam Gase had three tough years in Miami before coming to New York. He is 29-35 in four seasons. His teams have lost 26 games by double digits; 12 games by at least 20 points. Once every four games, his teams lost by at least 18 points.

Gase has already been given another year to pull it together in New York, which is a sticking point for Jets fans.

6. ANOTHER ALLEN VS. DRAFT CLASS QB

Josh Allen gets another shot to put his best foot forward against another member of the 2018 QB draft class. He needs it.

Allen is 0-1 vs Baltimore's Lamar Jackson and 0-1 vs Baker Mayfield this year. He's never faced Josh Rosen in a game.

Against his buddy Darnold, Allen is 1-1. He won the season kickoff game this year and lost last December in Orchard Park.

7. WRAPPING UP

The Bills can work on their tackling this week after a rough game last week in Foxboro. Buffalo had troubles bringing the Patriots to the ground in their loss last Saturday, so those that play must be ready to wrap up the Jets.

"I don't want to make any excuses. We didn't tackle well enough," coordinator Leslie Frazier said this week. "Even on the final touchdown we had two guys right there and we don't make that tackle."

"I'll try to address it over the next few days and hopefully not repeat that when we line up to play again on Sunday and then beyond as well. But, it's always something you talk about, always something you work on. You really can't work on it as much as you'd like when you're not in pads, it's more communication, more drill work. But you have to tackle. In football you have to tackle."

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