New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills
The New York Jets get their season kicked off with a road game against the Buffalo Bills. It’s an AFC East showdown of two teams that may be battling for last place. New York has looked like a team ready to tank for the No. 1 draft pick after cutting receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker.
The Bills however don’t look to be in much better shape. This team obviously is in a rebuild mode as they recently shipped off wide receiver Sammy Watkins and cornerback Ronald Darby. Sending their best defensive back and pass catcher out the door during the preseason doesn’t exactly scream “win now” for the franchise that has struggled to find the right side of .500 in recent seasons.
It might not be invigorating football, but let’s take a look at the matchup and the keys to victory.
New York Keys To Victory
Keep McCown clean: The Jets have a decent quarterback, but he has a serious problem — staying on the field. Josh McCown isn’t a franchise guy, but he can make all the throws. The key will be making sure he has a clean pocket to do so.
Slow down Shady: Running back LeSean McCoy is the one legitimate weapon the Bills have. The Jets do feature a strong defensive front, which will need to show up in this one. If they can force Buffalo to go away from Shady McCoy, that will help them.
Find a ground game: The ground game for New York was decent in 2016, but they have to make sure to go with the better player. They leaned on veteran Matt Forte, but Bilal Powell was more effective. They will need a running game, so if Powell is rolling, they need to stick with him.
Buffalo Keys To Victory
Let Tyrod be Tyrod: The one thing that makes quarterback Tyrod Taylor dangerous is his ability to hurt teams with his legs. With no real threats at wide out, the Bills will need him to at least threaten the run. Getting him on bootlegs and throwing on the run will help back the defenders up.
Find a receiver: If Taylor can get the defense on their heels, he needs to be able to take advantage. In order for that to happen, someone has to step up at wide receiver. Zay Jones may be their best bet as a rookie, but they need something. Anything.
Get McCoy involve early: With their wide outs in flux, Buffalo will need LeSean McCoy to step up. They said they will run him as much as it takes to win, and that may need to be their offensive plan every single week.
Point Spread: Buffalo -5
The Jets are a mess, but the Bills aren’t much better. This will be a game where neither offense wants to assert itself. In the end the better defense will find a way to make enough plays to find a way to squeak out a narrow victory.
Pick: New York Jets: 20, Buffalo Bills: 16