The (5-4) New York Jets will travel to Buffalo Sunday to take on the Bills (3-7) for the second time this season. The first meeting resulted in a 27-20 come from behind win for gang green.
The Bills will be decimated on Sunday with injuries to their wide receiving core. Robert Woods will not play and Stevie Johnson who had 6 catches for 86 yards in the first match-up, is not expected to play. This will help a struggling Jets secondary that ranks 22nd against the pass. The key for the Jets is to stop the run which they have been phenomenal at all year. In the week 3 meeting between the two teams, the Jets held C.J. Spiller to 9 yards on 10 carries but did let Fred Jackson rush for 72 yards. If the Jets can stop the run, added pressure will be on E.J. Manuel and the Bills inexperienced wide receivers. The Jets expect to play newly acquired safety Ed Reed who brings knowledge of Rex Ryan’s defense from his days in Baltimore. If Reed can stay on the field he should improve the Jets pass defense tremendously.
For the Jets getting healthy was a focal point during the bye week. Kellen Winslow will be back on the field after missing four games due to suspension. Also Santonio Holmes is expected to be back this week after missing 5 weeks with lower extremity injuries. Geno Smith and Holmes connected 5 times in the week 3 match-up for 154 yards and a touchdown. Holmes will give the Jets a big lift at wide receiver especially with the status Jeremy Kerley and Stephen Hill being uncertain for this week. The Jets will rely on Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell to carry a heavy load this week. Powell had 149 yards rushing in the first match-up and hopes to have a similar day against the 30th ranked Bills run defense.
This game has huge implications for the New York Jets. Are they a contender or a pretender? The Jets are in the 6th spot in the AFC and a loss this week would not help their playoff push. If the Jets can beat the Bills, they’ll begin to separate themselves from the middle of the pack in the AFC and create momentum going into the home stretch of the regular season.