Buffalo Bills at New York Jets: Three Keys to the Game


The Buffalo Bills are finally back on primetime!

And not only are the Bills playing on primetime, Thursday night is a rivalry game against the New York Jets and Buffalo has another opportunity to build back-to-back victories for the first time this season. The Bills haven’t been able to accomplish that feat yet, but Thursday night’s tilt provides a perfect opportunity.

After an impressive win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, the Bills will look to keep the momentum going Thursday night.

Here’s this week’s Three Keys to the Game for the matchup with the Jets, which kicks off Thursday at 8 p.m. from MetLife Stadium:

1) Run the ball.

If the win over the Dolphins showed us anything, it’s that the Bills’ ground attack opens up the entire offense.

With over 200 yards on the ground, Sammy Watkins was able to have the best game of his NFL career, bum ankle and all.

The Jets have the best rushing defense in the NFL so the matchup is tough, however, they haven’t faced a rushing attack like Buffalo’s yet.

And not to mention, when the Jets have faced explosive rushing attacks earlier this fall, the Jets have struggled. Ryan Matthews was able to rack up over 100 yards win the Eagles took on the Jets Week 3 and both TJ Yeldon and Latavius Murray have been effective in each of the last two weeks.

It’s time to put the ball in the hands of LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams, and Tyrod Taylor.

2) Get after Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Ryan Fitzpatrick’s start with the Jets reminds you a bit of his 2011 campaign with the Bills when he had a stellar start to the season but fell off in November.

Fitzpatrick is a gutsy quarterback that will look to make plays any opportunity he can get, even if the window is small. That approach plays well into a defense’s hands.

The talent is there on the Buffalo defense and the Bills will have there opportunities to wreak havoc. With starting guard Willie Colon moved to season-ending IR earlier this week, the Jets will be starting a backup in his place.

Like they did at times Sunday, the coaches could slide Mario Williams inside to defensive tackle and Jerry Hughes could play left defensive end. If Buffalo goes with this lineup along the defensive line, this is one way the Bills can disrupt Fitzpatrick and force him into some bad decisions.

3) Keep the emotions in check.

Penalties were a problem yet again last week. And we’ve already seen what the Bills are like when a they take on a big opponent, but this is an opportunity for Buffalo to rewrite the script when it comes to penalties.

All week the spotlight has been on Rex Ryan all week and Buffalo’s penalty problem has been on the back burner. If they can take away those “dumb” penalties like roughing the passer, pass interference and any unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, the Bills will be in a position to come away with a victory.

Prediction: Bills win 28-14

While it’s only November, Thursday night’s game has a lot on the line if the Bills want to make the playoffs. If Buffalo can run the ball effectively and get after Ryan Fitzpatrick, they’ll be in good shape. It also doesn’t hurt the Bills that New York’s starting placekicker wasn’t on the roster a week ago.