Well I hope everyone had a wonderful bye week. A week without anything really relevant to the Jets is pretty painful during football season. I usually do this on Wednesdays, but I want to get back to Jets football ASAP. We got a break with the Pats losing to the Steelers. The Bills, on the other hand, came out of the bye strong, as they destroyed the Redskins. Buffalo is going into week 9 with some force. I hope the 6 days off, Rex gave the guys, pays off.
The name of the game this week, on defense, is stop Fred Jackson. The guy has come out of nowhere to have an All-Pro season. His stats are pretty intimidating. He is the 4th ranked RB right now, and is on pace to have a 1400+ yard season. He is also a very decent receiving option out of the backfield. He is on pace to pull in about 600+ yards as a pass catcher. Fred is public enemy number 1.
We are getting healthy this week. Our D-line was decimated by injuries in our last game against the Chargers. Mike DeVito, Kendrick Ellis, Pitoitua, were all either out or hampered by an injury. Everyone will be back this week on the line. David Harris should also be back and healthy at the ILB position. These are the men that will have to control the line. This game will ride on what these guys accomplish. If the Bills are able to run successfully on us early, they won't let up. We can not allow Fred jackson to get 5 yards a pop. Penetration is key to stopping him and most RBs. If you stop him before he can even blow through the line, than we doing something right. As far as I can tell, the Bills O-line is nothing special, especially on the left side. The Bills would be wise to not run on the side that DeVito and Pace aren't on. If we can help Wilkerson out with extra bodies on the left side of the line, we should be able to win a few battles in the trenches.
The matchups in the secondary are interesting ones. We have Steve Johnson, who is their go to WR, and David Nelson, who is their reliable safety net. Nelson also happens to be 6'5", and very physical. I would put Revis on Nelson for most of the game, and let Cro try to ground Johnson. Even though Cro matches up better with Nelson speed wise, his strength and size would be a huge problem for Cro. Revis also seems to shine against receiver that are both physical, and big. They bring out the best in him. I have confidence in Kyle Wilson to clean up their TE, or slot receiver.
On a side note... Ryan Fitzpatrick is a threat to run the ball. We can't ignore the fact that if nothing is open downfield, he is a threat to tuck the ball, and make a run for it. He has ran the ball more times than C.J. Spiller. If we are overloading for the run, we should be able to have guys there to stop anything if he tries something. We also can't forget about our old friend Brad Smith. Look for the Bills to try and play off of the whole former team thing. He has only thrown the ball once this season, so if he's in there, expect the run. We should play off of the whole former team thing ourselves. I would love to see a lot of Aaron Maybin out there. My girlfriend's brother pulled him over a few days ago, and said he is a great guy. It would be nice to see him rewarded with playing time against the team that thought he was a bust.
Our "ground and pound" attack has been picking up speed the last two games. This is the game to take it to the next level. The Bills are weak against the run. They are ranked 19th, behind both the Dolphins and the Chargers. We will be getting back a healthy Shonn Greene, and LT for this match. Joe McKnight might even see some rushing touches, considering the field day he had against this defense last year. The Bills are an improved defense, but can still give up big games to RBs. Marcell Dareus is a force for the Bills on the left side of their line. Brandon Moore is going to have his hands full trying to move that mountain. Luckily for us, we are better at running the ball in the other direction. The Bills All Pro NT, Kyle Williams is believed to be out for the season. This leaves his backup, Torell Troup, to fill in. Our O-line should win this battle.
As far as pass rush goes for the Bills, they don't have much. Before the game against the Redskins, they had 4 sacks through 6 games. The 9 sacks they picked up had more to do with the Redskins than the Bills figuring out how to rush the passer. Dareus is also the team leader in sacks. When I see a DE in a 3-4 defense leading the team in sacks, it tells me that QBs get some time to throw, but wind up going down in coverage sacks. With Shawne Merriman out, there is very little pass rushing talent left at the OLB position. D'Brick and Hunter should be licking their chops for this game.
The Bills pass defense is ranked 24th, but don't let that fool you. They know how to turn the ball over. They are a very opportunistic group. It wasn't too long ago that Mark Sanchez had a
6 5 INT game against them. Of course Mark is a better QB than his rookie season, and thankfully, hasn't had a game like that in a while. *Knock on wood* If our O-line can handle what the Bills throw at them in terms of pass rush, our guys should be able to get open. I would love to see more Plaxico in the Red Zone, and more Joe McKnight in the open field. Nick Barnett is a decent cover LB, but shouldn't be able to keep up with McKnight.
Don't be fooled by the history of the Bills. They are a very good team this year. If you doubt me, just take a look at who is on top of the AFC East. This game will tell us a lot about both of these teams. It will show us who is actually a playoff contender. I am expecting a playoff like atmosphere for this game. The winner will have a clear advantage going forward in any contest for division title or wild card spot. If we are able to pound the rock as effectively me and Rex hope, we should be OK offensively. If we can contain Fred Jackson and Ryan Fitzpatrick from running wild on us, our D should hold strong. It's a winnable game folks, we just have to execute.