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Bilal Powell Emerging in Passing Game; Questionable Sunday

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Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Bilal Powell did not practice all week for the Jets and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game with an ankle injury.

The Jets have to be hoping he will be able to go because he has emerged in the passing game. In many ways, he has been part of the Jets finding their offensive identity since his Week 11 return from another ankle injury.

Over the past six weeks, the Jets have thrown the ball 283 times after throwing 284 times, an almost equal amount in the first nine games of the season.

Early in the year, the Jets were heavily concentrating their targets to Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. 57% of the targets in the first nine games were in their direction. That number is down to 42% over the last six weeks since Powell's return.

One of the themes in the early season was finding a third target in the passing game. Jeremy Kerley was third on the team in targets, and his play was sporadic. There were long stretches where he didn't factor into the gameplan.

The question was who would step up and become that third option. Would Kerley get more playing time? Would Devin Smith emerge in the second half? Would a tight end pick up the pace? The answer is Powell has elevated his game.

He has gotten 44 targets over the past six games, third most on the team behind Marshall and Decker. He has turned that into 32 catches for 299 yards and 2 touchdowns. If you project those out to a full 16 game season, Powell since his return has been on an 85 catch, 797 yard, 5 touchdown pace. That is very solid for a third option.

If Powell cannot go, it would hurt.  The Jets have gotten more out of Quincy Enunwa and Kenbrell Thompkins lately. They might need to step up.

The injury report below tells you players other than Powell who are banged up.

New York Jets

POS. PLAYER INJURY WEDNESDAY (12/30) THURSDAY (12/31) FRIDAY (1/1) GAME STATUS
TE DAVIS, KELLEN FOOT - DNP DNP QUESTIONABLE
RB POWELL, BILAL ANKLE DNP DNP DNP QUESTIONABLE
OL GIACOMINI, BRENO ANKLE DNP DNP LP QUESTIONABLE
RB IVORY, CHRIS KNEE DNP LP LP PROBABLE
LB PACE, CALVIN ABDOMEN LP LP LP PROBABLE
DL WILKERSON, MUHAMMAD TOE LP LP LP PROBABLE
QB FITZPATRICK, RYAN LEFT THUMB/RIGHT ELBOW/LOW BACK LP FP FP PROBABLE
LB HENDERSON, ERIN ILLNESS DNP FP FP PROBABLE
DB MILLINER, DEE HAMSTRING FP FP FP PROBABLE
LB DAVIS, DEMARIO WRIST FP FP FP PROBABLE
LB MAULDIN, LORENZO BACK FP FP FP PROBABLE
WR ENUNWA, QUINCY NECK FP FP FP PROBABLE
WR DECKER, ERIC KNEE FP FP FP PROBABLE
WR MARSHALL, BRANDON ANKLE FP FP FP PROBABLE
WR THOMPKINS, KENBRELL QUAD/SHIN FP FP FP PROBABLE

Buffalo Bills

POS. PLAYER INJURY WEDNESDAY (12/30) THURSDAY (12/31) FRIDAY (1/1) GAME STATUS
RB LeSean McCoy Knee DNP DNP DNP OUT
LB Nigel Bradham Ankle LP DNP DNP OUT
T Cordy Glenn Illness - DNP -
G John Miller Ankle DNP LP LP PROBABLE
S Bacarri Rambo Knee/Shoulder DNP LP LP PROBABLE
QB Tyrod Taylor Right Shoulder LP LP LP PROBABLE
DT Marcell Dareus Neck LP FP FP PROBABLE
CB Ronald Darby Groin LP LP LP PROBABLE
DE Mario Williams Hand LP LP LP PROBABLE