What can we learn for Game #1? Last year's Buffalo Bills in numbers and pictures.

Hey folks! To those of you who got back to school this week or are going in the next few, good luck! To the rest of you working people out there, keep at it (or something like that).

So let's fast forward two weeks. On Sep. 9th, the Jets will open up a fresh, new season against the Buffalo Bills. I put just about no stock in the preseason. The dynamic is different, the teams aren't necessarily fielding the best players, and game planning is minimal. For that reason, I think it's important to take a look at our Week 1 opponent based on last year.

I'm sure the staff will have a preview with the roster and all that, so I wanted to focus on a few things, mostly numerical, and with illustrations.

So How Bout Them Bills?


As some of you know, I like Football Outsiders- so here's a look at the Bills drive chart. If you don't know what something means, go to Football Outsiders and look it up.



As many of you know, the Buffalo Bills started off the season hot. Very hot in fact. But then a funny thing happened on the way to the playoffs- the Bills started to be bad.

Well, not really- actually they regressed to their mean. All of my comrades in the West are going to scream, and yell, and say "Listen you, the Bills were good!", and I don't disagree, but they effectively played to their ceiling after the first 6 games. There was no where to go but down. You don't believe me? Well then this is for you.


Sorry to confuse you guys, but the offensive rankings are above the legend.

So what can we learn from this? The Bills offensive efficiency was at 0.3% last year. They were a middle of the pack team, except for one little thing. Much of their offense came in the first 6 games. In fact, in the second part of the year, they were somewhat poor offensively. They almost certainly would be in the bottom 10 in the league if it weren't for those last few games.

Another thing we can see is that Ryan Fitzpatricks "daunting" pass attack wasn't all that good. In fact it was barely even average. The running game essentially carried the team through the year. On top of that, their woes are exasperated in variance, where the posted a very high number meaning that their offense was up and down depending on the game.



Defensively the Bills were bad. Bad, bad,bad.In the FO System, any defensive number that's positive is poor. All of their number were positive, explanation not needed. In fact when you factor in their schedule, they were the 3rd worst team in the league. There is basically no silver lining her, other than they have a solid backfield (which I believe to be overrated, and I know I've debated that before)

But here's the kicker; special teams. (See what I did there? I'll be here all week, try the veal) Billsspecialteamslegend_medium


So, you didn't think it could get worse, huh? Well it can, and it does. The Bills only positive category in ST was their Kickers. Their punters lost them points, their kick returners lost them points, and their punters lost them point. The lost so many points, that the weather even was the cause of lost points at -3.2 (That's what you get for winning that snow trophy every year Buffalo, you can keep it there, Albany doesn't want it).

And you want to know why this is just a big old kick in the gut to Bills fans? Because of this:


The rest of the AFC East is 4,5, and 6 in ST. All of them were positive. This is also the time I would like to point out how good TJ Conley was last year. He scored/saved the Jets 13.2 points, that's good for 3rd best in the league. So keep sippin' on that Hateorade.

Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here.

Basically this sign is plastered all over Ralph Wilson Stadium, and for good reason. I found a lot of footage of what the Bills do well, but I'll save that for a slightly more pessimistic post never because the Bills are awful at some point. However, I grabbed some footage of the the second Jets-Bills game, and basically figured out that there was one thing that ate the Bills alive: two men in the backfield.


So, in this frame, the Bills creep several linebackers up in anticipation of the run. You have a two back package, with single coverage on the outside.


What happens here is pretty simple. The LB's come inside, and the two RB's get right on them with a block. Now you're left with single coverage on the outside, and you split the safeties by forcing them to come up with what looks like a run. By the time the safeties realize it, they're already a step in the hole, and it's man to man on both sides. Plax uses it to burn the CB and Sanchez goes right over the top.


We see it again here. It's the exact same setup.


Except this time, Tone runs a short curl over the middle. Three guys are there, but none of them cover, and (despite a bad throw by Sanchez) it's a fairly easy TD on a good read.

But, the buck doesn't stop there. This time the Jets run plays out of a jumbo dual back package, to effect.



We see that Mark pulls down to shake off the safety, and in turn Greene is able to brush past the d-line and gets through the LB's easily and into the backfield.

And here we go again. This time it's a jumbo-I against the Bills goal line defense.



As you can see, the Jets are able to push everyone off their blocks, and despite LT getting tripped up, he finds is way into the end zone because of that huge gap in front of him.

This time it's not the two back package that gets them, it's the TE's going wide off the snap. It looks like a surefire screen, however no one picks Keller up in the opposite flat.



Now keep in mind, this is the kind of play that wouldn't work necessarily against a cover-2 team, or a team who plays a lot of zone. It was a great read by Mark and Schotty to pick to pick up the blitz at the line. You may also remember this play as the one that Dustin Keller got hurt on trying to jump over some Bills players.

Since I didn't really want this to turn into a "bash the Bills" post (I realize that ship has sailed), I'm going to toss this in.


The Jets are running a singleback package here, and get the outside men open because of some very good blocking. Mark Sanchez gets a little overzealous however.


Overshooting Dustin Keller is generally a bad thing, in the end zone it's a worse thing. Keller shifts back to the left and Sanchez goes right. The result is an easy, easy pick.

So what did we learn new today?

The Jets are going to run the ball, and run it a lot. Mario Williams is a nice addition for the Bills, but their rush defense in general is very poor- the kind of poor that doesn't change immensely with one addition. Stephen Hill will likely be running a lot of vertical routes also. One consistent theme was that the Jets were easily able to go over the top with passes, if the safety was shaken off. Last year, Sanchez was doing that with a lot of motion plays, but in the preseason this year he's shown the ability to do it with the pump fake, which for me, appears to be a major step in his development.

Lastly, if I'm the Jets, I want to avoid the middle here. The Bills do have a solid safety tandem, and with Mario Williams, why would you take that unnecessary risk? Force the ball to the outside, allow Greene and Joe McKnight to make a lot of cutbacks, and be crisp with your passes. We saw that the Bills get lulled into 1v1 coverage a lot, so there's little reason for the Jets to be throwing into triple coverage, like Mark did to Tone in one of those above pictures. As we saw, one time it worked, and one time it didn't, and 50/50 isn't a high enough chance for me.

So there's a slight overview of the Bills. Keep plugging, only two more weeks until real football starts!

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