The Bills will take on the division rival New York Jets in their first prime time game in a long time. Buffalo will travel to the Meadowlands for the 8:25 kickoff Thursday. The game is the biggest of the year thus far, with a win putting them ahead of the Jets in the standings for the wild card. Other than the hideous jerseys both teams will be wearing expect a great battle between Rex and his former team. Here are the key players for each team.
Marcell Dareus – Dareus has 23 combined tackles in the seven games he has played this year, the bright spot on the disappointing Buffalo defensive line. Dareus has been getting good pentration even when he does not make the tackle, and always seems to hustle after the play even when its downfield. Chris Ivory has been one of the best running backs in the league this year, so stopping the run will be a tough task for Dareus, but it starts with him in the middle.
Charles Clay – You can expect Watkins to be on Revis Island all day, which does not mean he won’t get his catches, but Clay needs to make plays in the passing game. Tyrod Taylor will have a hard time getting the ball to Watkins and will likely be under constant pressure. Clay will have plenty of match ups against defenders like Buster Skrine, which he should take advantage of.
Stephon Gilmore – Brandon Marshall has looked rejuvenated with his new team, hauling in 54 catches and 5 TDs so far this season. Fitzpatrick always gives his receivers a chance, meaning Gilmore is going to have to win a few 50-50 balls in this game against a very athletic receiver.
New York Jets
Ryan Fitzpatrick – Fitzpatrick plans on having surgery on his injured thumb on his non throwing hand on Friday, so how healthy will he be on Thursday? If the Bills can stop the run (a big if) than Fitzpatrick is going to have be able to throw the ball effectively against a good Buffalo secondary.
Jets Defensive Line – Who is going to be responsible for keeping Tyrod Taylor inside the pocket. The Jets have a very aggressive pass rush, which could burn them if they get too far up field allowing Taylor to scramble. If they can keep Tyrod from running the Jets will take away a big part of Buffalo’s offense.
Jermey Kerley – If Gilmore and Darby continue their stellar seasons then that will take away Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. That leaves the speedster Kerley to be able to get open for Fitzpatrick, likely while being guarded by Leodis McKelvin, who did not look good last week. Kerley hasn’t done much this year, but he could have a few key catches in this one.