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Previewing the Jets’ opposition: Buffalo Bills

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Back in week one, the Jets hosted the Bills and led 16-0 late in the third quarter but ended up losing 17-16 with the loss of CJ Mosley being a key factor. Since that time, the Bills have stormed to a wild card spot, while the Jets have won just six games. Let’s review how the Bills roster currently looks:


Josh Allen has made a leap in his second season, improving his numbers across the board. His completion percentage has gone up from 53 percent to 59 percent, his touchdown-to-interception ratio has improved from less than one to more than two and he’s rushed for nine touchdowns which is one more than last year.

On Sunday, it’s unclear how long Allen will remain in the game, although head coach Sean McDermott has stated that he and most of the Bills starters will start the game.

Backup Matt Barkley led the Bills to a blowout of the Jets last season and should see some playing time when the Bills rest Allen ahead of next week’s wild card round.

Offensive Line

After bringing in a bunch of new linemen in the offseason, the Bills’ starters have remained healthy for most of the year. Center Mitch Morse missed one start and rookie tackle Cody Ford missed two.

Left tackle Dion Dawkins is their best lineman and even caught a touchdown pass last week. However, he has had 11 penalties.

As a unit, penalties have been an issue for the Bills. In addition to Dawkins’ issues, Morse and Ford have also combined for 17 penalties.

At guard, Quinton Spain has struggled as a run blocker but hasn’t given up a sack, while Jon Feliciano has done well in the running game, but given up four sacks. Ford has given up a team-high seven sacks, though.

The Bills may also opt to rest some starters on the line. Ty Nsekhe started two games for Ford, while ex-Jet Spencer Long started when Morse missed a game earlier in the year. The only other reserve to see any playing time is undrafted rookie tackle Ryan Bates.

Young guard Ike Boettger could perhaps get some offensive reps for the first time all season.

Running Backs

Third round pick Devin Singletary has established himself as the team’s number one back, as he’s averaged over five yards per carry and rushed for almost 800 yards, including a 100-yard game against the Broncos. Singletary has also caught 29 passes.

Veteran Frank Gore also gets plenty of work, but is averaging just 3.6 yards per carry.

TJ Yeldon provides experience off the bench, although he hasn’t played much and Senorise Perry, who was recently re-signed, hasn’t played at all yet.

Former pro bowl fullback Patrick DiMarco has five catches on the year, but is primarily a blocking back.

Pass catchers

The main change at the wide receiver position for the Bills was that they traded Zay Jones to the Raiders early in the season. That came about as John Brown established himself as a viable number one. He’s put together a thousand-yard season for the first time since 2015.

Cole Beasley has also been a big pick-up. He has 67 catches and is the Bills’ primary slot option. Beasley is tied with Brown for the team lead with six touchdowns.

Isaiah McKenzie is their number three and has 25 receptions, but reserves Robert Foster and Andre Roberts have just three catches each. Roberts has been ruled out anyway.

Duke Williams, who was activated off the practice squad in October and had four catches including the winning touchdown in the game against Tennessee the next day, has just two catches since then.

At tight end, rookie Dawson Knox has established himself as the starter and caught 28 passes. Reserves Tyler Kroft, Lee Smith and rookie Tommy Sweeney have just 12 catches between them.

Defensive Line

The Bills drafted Ed Oliver in the first round and he’s produced well with five sacks, but Jordan Phillips has been the big surprise this year at defensive tackle. He’s established himself as a starter alongside veteran Star Lotulelei and racked up 9.5 sacks after having only had 5.5 in his first four seasons.

Harrison Phillips went on injured reserve during the season, so the Bills added Corey Liuget and Vincent Taylor to bolster their depth.

Trent Murphy and Jerry Hughes are still listed as the starter on the edge. Shaq Lawson backs them up, along with seventh-round rookie Darryl Johnson. Lawson has 6.5 sacks and leads the team in quarterback hits but has been ruled out for Sunday.


The 36-year old Lorenzo Alexander also gets plenty of reps on the edge, although he only has two sacks this season.

On the inside, leading tackler Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano play in a full-time role. Milano struggles against the run but has been good in coverage.

Reserves Julian Stanford and Corey Thompson haven’t played any defensive reps yet this year, but might get their chance if the Bills rest defensive starters in the second half. Maurice Alexander did play on defense in a couple of games, but he’s on injured reserve now.

Defensive Backs

Tre’Davious White has had a great season for the Bills, with six interceptions and 17 passes defensed. Levi Wallace is the other starter at cornerback, while Taron Johnson and Kevin Johnson both get work in sub-packages.

Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde are a solid starting duo at safety. Poyer has over 100 tackles and two interceptions and Hyde has been excellent in coverage.

Reserve Kurt Coleman has only played 13 defensive snaps all season and Dean Marlowe hasn’t played at all on defense. Finally, Siran Neal can provide depth at both cornerback and safety but hasn’t played much this season.

Special Teams

Stephen Hauschka has missed eight kicks in his third season as the Bills’ placekicker, including four of five from beyond 50 yards.

Punter Corey Bojorquez has had a solid year, but did have a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown against New England earlier in the season.

Roberts failed to repeat his pro bowl performance from last season as the primary return man. He averaged just eight yards per return on punts, although he had some good kick-off returns over the past few weeks to push his average up to a solid 26.6 yards per return. Hyde had their only touchdown on a botched onside kick, though.

With Roberts out, Hyde, McKenzie and Singletary are all options in the return game.

In kick coverage, the Bills gave up a touchdown on a kick-off return by Jakeem Grant of the Dolphins, but they’re solid on punts. Neal is their leading tackler in coverage, with Perry and Stanford among their other contributors.