The Buffalo Bills and New York Jets have a quick turnaround as they play Thursday night on national television in Buffalo, New York at New Era Field. Both teams are coming off week one losses, and a second straight loss could already hurt that teams playoff chances.
The Jets lost their home opener against the Cincinnati Bengals 23-22 after AJ Green torched the Jets defensive backfield for 12 receptions, 180 yards and one touchdown. Mike Nugent connected on a 47 yard field goal with less than a minute in the fourth quarter for the win. The Bills fell short in Baltimore only managing to score 7 points. The Bills defense which recorded four sacks kept the game close, but the offensive was unable to capitalize.
What should we watch for tonight?
The Jets defensive line recorded 6 sacks last Sunday against the Bengals. Five of those came with just a four man pass rush. They also welcome back Sheldon Richardson who was suspended for week one. Tyrod Taylor was sacked two times in Baltimore but he was under a lot of pressure. The Bills offensive line was supposed to be a strong point with all five starters returning, it was anything but pretty in week one. Look for the Jets to wreak havoc and make Taylor one dimensional.
The Bills need to convert on third down. In 2015, the Bills struggled, converting just 37.9% of their opportunities, which was good for 19th overall. That trend continued in week one when the Bills were just 3 of 13 on third down conversions. The Bills need to improve in this regards if they hope to come out with a win tonight. A higher conversion rate will result in longer drives, and the more plays they can run, the longer the Jets defense will be on the field.
The Jets moved the ball well last week, but were only able to finish 2 of 5 when in the red zone. Last year, the Jets ranked number 3 in the NFL in terms of red zone efficiency. With the continued development of wide receiver Quincy Enunwa along with the excellent play of running back Matt Forte, the Jets should have an even more diversified attack as the season goes on.
Will the Bills take any shots down the field? In week one, the Bengals were able to take advantage of the deep ball on more than one occasion. Tyrod Taylor only attempted 6 passes that traveled at least 10 yards in the air. Last year, Taylor was one of the most efficient deep pass passers. Nobody wants to see another Trent “check down” Edwards. What is the point of having Marquise Goodwin on the roster if you are not going to utilize his speed?
Last but not least, what impact will Sammy Watkins have on the game tonight? We saw the Bengals number one receiver AJ Green have a field day against Darrell Revis and company. While dealing with a lot injury, Sammy needs to come up big. If that means he needs to get in his coaches ear to throw him the ball, then so be it. Watkins can be an elite wide out in this league, Greg Roman and Tyrod Taylor just need to get the ball in his hands.
Also, the Bills will retire Hall of Famer Bruce Smith’s number 78 tonight. Smith will join quarterback, whose number 12 was retired in 2001, as the only Bills players whose jersey numbers have been officially retired by the team. Country music star Darius Rucker will sing the national anthem before tonights game.