Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets round 2 preview

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 01: Tyrod Taylor
ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 01: Tyrod Taylor /

This Thursday night, the 5-2 Buffalo Bills will pay a visit to the 3-5 New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in Buffalo’s only prime time action of the year.

The Bills enter Thursday’s contest on a 2 game win streak and an impressive 34-14 stomping of the Oakland Raiders while the Jets have lost 3 straight, most recently to the Atlanta Falcons by a 25-20 margin.

Buffalo had a busy week leading up to the trade deadline Tuesday as they dealt away former 1st round pick, Marcell Dareus, to the Jacksonville Jaguars and acquired a much needed wide receiver in Kelvin Benjamin from the Carolina Panthers.

Though the Bills only received a 6th round pick as compensation for Dareus, they unloaded the majority of his salary from their books which will help cover the $8.5 million they’ll owe Benjamin should he remain on the roster in March.

Benjamin will help open up the offense

The 6 foot 5, 245 pound Benjamin will provide a big target for quarterback Tyrod Taylor and could be a major threat in the red zone. So far this season, he has reeled in 32 passes for 475 yards which each rank 17th among receivers league wide.

These aren’t astounding numbers, but given that Buffalo’s receivers rank dead last in both receptions and yards, he’ll be a huge upgrade at the position.

Per ESPN Bills reporter Mike Rodak, Benjamin will take over the weak side exterior receiving position which will allow Jordan Matthews to return to his natural slot role.

Bills GM Brandon Bean told WGR Sports Radio 550 Tuesday afternoon that Benjamin’s chances of playing Thursday night are “50/50.” Should he end up dressing, his role will likely be limited given the short turnaround time.

However, his mere presence could be used to open up other receivers and remove defenders from the box which may allow RB LeSean McCoy to get loose and gouge a Jets defensive front that ranks 27th with 128 rushing yards given up per game.

Benjamin will wear the number 13 which once belonged to former Bills receiver, Stevie Johnson.

How the Bills and Jets stack up

Each team enters the game with surprising records as both were projected to be among the NFL’s worst during the preseason.

After starting 0-2, the Jets rattled off 3 consecutive wins, most notably against Jacksonville. They could very easily have an additional victory had the controversial fumble that came towards the end of their match up against New England gone their way.

Buffalo, meanwhile, has been perhaps the biggest surprise this year. Their defense ranks among the league’s best with 16.4 points given up per game and a mere 80.1 rushing yards allowed per game. Additionally, they tacked on 4 more turnovers against the Raiders last week to improve their league-leading +14 turnover margin.

Their defense, coupled with conservative, yet efficient play from Tyrod Taylor, has enabled Buffalo to scrape out 5 wins so far, and they’ll look to improve to 6-2 for the first time since 1993, the last year they were in the Super Bowl.

One of the few advantages the Jets have over the Bills thus far is their passing attack which averages 233 yards per game.

Quarterback Josh McCown has been solid all year with a 70.5% completion percentage, a 12:7 TD: INT ratio, and a 95.3 passer rating. The Jets will look to exploit a Buffalo pass defense that has given up more than 300 yards in each of its past 3 games.

Injury report

According to the Bills’ injury report at BuffaloBills.com, G Richie Incognito will play following an ankle injury sustained against Oakland while CB E.J. Gaines (hamstring) and TE Charles Clay (knee) have been ruled out.

S Jordan Poyer (knee) and LB Ramon Humber (thumb) are both listed as questionable, although Humber has been rumored as the surer bet to return to action. CB Shareece Wright is expected to play in place of Gaines.

The Jets will be without FB Lawrence Thomas (concussion). S Terrance Brooks (hamstring) and T Brandon Shell (neck) are each listed as doubtful while CB Morris Claiborne (foot) and DL Muhammad Wilkerson (foot/shoulder) are listed as questionable. (NewYorkJets.com)

Prediction: Bills will prevail

17. 30. 20. 16. Final

According to Oddsshark.com, Buffalo is a 3.5 point favorite and the over/under total is at 42 points, so we are likely in for a defensive battle.

So far this year, Buffalo has struggled on the road with a 1-2 record and an average of 14 points for, while the Jets have been so so at home with a 2-2 record and an average of 20 points scored.

Despite their offensive struggles during away games, expect LeSean McCoy to break a few runs against a weak Jets run D, especially if Kelvin Benjamin is lining up outside. The Jets’ running game will be stifled by the dominant Buffalo run defense while rookie sensation Tre White and the NFL’s interception leader, Micah Hyde, will be able to slow down the New York passing attack.

Tyrod Taylor will continue his mistake free football and have a rushing and passing TD and will move the ball enough to set up K Steven Hauschka for a few field goals leading the Bills to a 6-2 record and another step closer to ending their playoff drought.

Next: BLD Podcast: Playoffs? Don’t talk about Playoffs

The Bills will be sporting all white and a new white face mask.