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Previewing the Jets’ opposition: Buffalo Bills

Buffalo Bills v Tennessee Titans Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

By this time last season, the Jets had already faced - and lost to - the Bills twice. They actually only won by 10 and eight points, although those scorelines flattered the winless and overmatched Jets. The Bills remain atop the AFC East but are under pressure to bounce back after their offense laid an egg in a surprising loss to the Jaguars on Sunday.

Quarterbacks

Josh Allen was a pro bowler last season as he led the Bills to a 13-3 record and was playing well this year too - until last week when he found his kryptonite: Himself. Well, not actually himself, but his namesake from the Jaguars who sacked him, intercepted him and recovered his fumble.

For the first time all year, Allen failed to throw a touchdown pass, threw multiple interceptions and was sacked more than three times in the 9-6 loss.

Perhaps surprisingly, Allen has been running more and racking up more yardage this season. He’s actually on pace to set a career mark for rushing yardage and his average of 5.6 yards per carry is his highest since he was a rookie.

With Mitchell Trubisky on the Covid-19 reserve list, the Bills already elevated Davis Webb from the practice squad to back up Allen.

Offensive Line

The Bills’ offensive line is anchored by center Mitch Morse and Dion Dawkins, who protects the blind side. Dawkins is an excellent player but does lead the team with seven penalties.

The other three positions have been in flux all season. Jon Feliciano is listed as the starting left guard but he just went on injured reserve with backup Ike Boettger having started the last game in his place. As noted, the Bills gave up a season high four sacks.

Veteran Darryl Williams is listed as the starting right guard but he started at right tackle on Sunday. Rookie Spencer Brown is listed as the starting right tackle, but Cody Ford was in Sunday’s starting lineup at right guard.

Ryan Bates is a key reserve on the interior and the team just added veteran Jamil Douglas to provide more depth. Fifth round rookie Tommy Doyle has barely played so far.

Running Backs

Devin Singletary is the Bills’ leading rusher and averages almost five yards per carry. However, he has just 96 rushing yards over the past four games and averages less than four yards per catch.

Zack Moss generally shares the workload with Singletary, but he’s been going through the concussion protocol this week and is listed as questionable.

Matt Breida has just four yards on four carries this season, while Taiwan Jones has exclusively been a special teamer and Reggie Gilliam is the team’s fullback.

Pass catchers

The Bills could feasibly end the season with three thousand-yard receivers, led by pro bowler Stefon Diggs who has 588 receiving yards, including a 100-yard game against the Texans. Slot receiver Cole Beasley leads the team with 51 catches and veteran Emmanuel Sanders is also showing he has plenty left in the tank as he has four touchdowns and a team-leading yards per catch average of over 17.

Gabriel Davis is the primary backup but has just 10 catches this year. Isaiah McKenzie is mainly a special teamer but sometimes gets the ball on jet sweeps and end arounds. Jake Kumerow was just added to the Covid-19 reserve list.

At tight end, Dawson Knox is developing into a good red zone threat. He has five touchdowns in six games and will be making his return after missing two games with a broken hand. His backup, Tommy Sweeney, has nine catches.

Defensive Line

The Bills pass rush is led by veteran Jerry Hughes, who leads the team with six quarterback hits and has two forced fumbles and two deflected passes.

However, Hughes only has 1.5 sacks on the year, as rookie Greg Rousseau and veteran Mario Addison are tied for the team lead with three each. Rousseau is listed as the other starter opposite Hughes, but Addison gets plenty of playing time on the edge, as does AJ Epenesa, who is a good run defender.

Another rookie, second rounder Carlos “Boogie” Basham hasn’t played much, although he does have 1.5 sacks. Efe Odaba is yet to contribute.

On the inside, youngster Ed Oliver starts alongside veteran Star Lotulelei. Justin Zimmer, a key reserve, was just placed on injured reserve, so Vernon Butler and Harrison Phillips will complete the rotation.

Linebackers

The Bills will have to deal with a major loss this week as pro bowler and leading tackler Tremaine Edmunds has been ruled out with a hamstring injury. The Bills usually only have two linebackers on the field with Edmunds and Matt Milano playing a full time role.

With Edmunds out, AJ Klein could be the starter. He started earlier in the year when Milano was out against the Chiefs. This wasn’t a full-time role, though, as the Bills ran a lot of three safety dime packages with just one linebacker on the field.

Among the other backups, Tyrell Dodson and Tyler Matakevich have barely played on defense and Andre Smith hasn’t seen any reps at all yet.

Defensive Backs

Pro bowler Tre’Davious White is the Bills’ best cornerback although he does lead the team with six defensive penalties.

Levi Wallace is the other starter on the outside and leads the team with seven pass breakups. Taron Johnson does a solid job as the nickel back.

The other main backup at corner, Dane Jackson, hasn’t had many chances to play this year. Cam Lewis was just added to the roster this week to round out this group.

Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde are one of the league’s most established safety pairings, as they are in their fifth year starting together. They are tied for the team lead with three interceptions each.

The versatile Siran Neal can fill in at cornerback or as a third safety. When Milano was out against the Chiefs, he took on a bigger role than usual, so that could happen again with Edmunds out.

Sixth round rookie Damar Hamlin and Jaquan Johnson will provide more depth off the bench.

Special Teams

The Bills picked up Matt Haack to be their punter after four years in the AFC East with Miami. He’s not done very well statistically though, as he’s 28th in the league in net average. He also had one blocked and returned for a touchdown against the Steelers.

Kicker Tyler Bass is in his second season and he’s only missed one kick all year but has yet to be called upon in a clutch situation.

McKenzie is the team’s main returner. He’s fourth in the league in kickoff return yardage with an average of 27.3 that is second in the league among players with 10 or more returns. He’s been less effective on punts with a 7.6 yards per return average.

Finally, on the coverage units, the Bills have been led by players like Jones, Neal and Matakevich.

You can check out the odds for Sunday’s game courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.