Thursday Night Preview: Buffalo Bills at New York Jets

 

It was only two months ago when many people believed the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets might not only be two of the worst teams in the NFL, but contenders to finish with the lowest win total in the NFL overall.

After all, new General Manager Brandon Beane and new head coach Sean McDermott came into Buffalo, and started dismantling remnants of regimes past, with eyes on the future. Meanwhile, only two seasons removed from an impetuous free agent spending spree, General Manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles found themselves with what many considered to be the least-talented roster in the NFL, and their job security being tenuous at best.

And yet, halfway through the season, not only are the Buffalo Bills only one-half game behind the New England Patriots in the AFC East standings, but their 5-2 record is tied for the second best record in the entire conference. Their +38 point differential this year is the third highest in the conference, and even greater than that of the Patriots. And perhaps most notably, Buffalo is the only team in the AFC to have not lost a single home game this season.

If the New York Jets entered this game with a 1-6 or 2-7 record, nobody would’ve thought twice about it. There was still a ton of housecleaning needed on that team, before they could be anywhere near competitive in the division or the conference. And yet, their 3-5 record is actually something to be positive about, considering they’ve won three of their past six games, after starting the year 0-2. Their three losses in the past six games were all seven points or loss, and they actually held third quarter leads in two of those three losses.

The biggest matchup to watch in this game will be whether the beleaguered Jets rushing defense can stop a Bills team that would prefer to pound the football right down the collective throats of their opponents.

The Jets are ranked 27th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed to opponents, giving up over 128 yards on the ground per game. Meanwhile, Buffalo is ranked 10th in the NFL in rushing yards per game, putting up an average of over 124 yards per game on the ground. Veteran running back LeSean McCoy of the Bills is currently ranked 6th in the NFL in rushing yards with 521, and quarterback Tyrod Taylor is always a threat to pile up rushing yards because of his athletic ability.

If the Bills are able to control the clock with the running game, then it will be up to the Jets to score anytime they get the ball on offense. Unfortunately, that might be easier said than done. In contrast to the Jets, the Bills are one of the most stout teams in the NFL against the run, giving up only 80 yards per game (good for third in the NFL). On top of that, they only allow 16.9 points per game to opponents in general (also good for third in the NFL). The Jets only score less than 20 points per game themselves, so it might be the case where the first team to score 20 points ends up winning the game.

Future Isn’t Looking Bright for the Bills and Browns

After the first week of the NFL season, the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns are trying to regroup after losing their first games of the year. While some might think it’s too early to panic, fans in both cities are starting to entertain the idea that this is going to be another long season without a playoff appearance for their beloved teams. Neither the Bills nor Browns covered the NFL predictions against the spread last week, and they probably won’t cover again this week.

Before the season began, fans in Buffalo had a little hope for their team after coming close to making the playoffs last year. The team resigned promising quarterback Tyrod Taylor and head coach Rex Ryan promised the team would be more disciplined and cut back on the penalties that hurt them last year, but things apparently haven’t changed because the Bills were very undisciplined on Sunday and didn’t provide a lot of protection for their quarterback.

In the first half of their game against the Baltimore Ravens, the Bills were outgained 114-2 at one point, which isn’t going to cut it if you’re trying to win games. The secondary, which was supposed to be one of their biggest strengths, looked bad and blew a lot of coverage’s during the game.

In the second half, the Bills tried to mount a comeback and got close, but the team eventually imploded, making a lot of bad choices and getting penalized for them. At one point in the second half, the Bills had cut the lead to 10-7, and had the Ravens backed up deep in their territory. Instead of forcing Baltimore to punt the ball, the Bills committed two personal fouls in three plays, and gave Baltimore great position at midfield, which they converted into a field goal.

The Cleveland Browns have known more misery than most NFL franchises, but fans still fill the Dawg Pound every season, hoping this is the year the team turns things around. However, after the overhaul the team went through in the offseason, fans knew the Browns aren’t a playoff team, but remained cautiously optimistic the Browns would have a good season.

Cleveland signed former Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III to compete for the quarterback position during the offseason. Since new head coach Hue Jackson has had a lot of success reviving the careers of quarterbacks, many felt it was a good fit.

During the first half of their game against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Browns offense didn’t look very good, but Griffin seemed like he was comfortable in the offense. As the game progressed, the Eagles figured out Cleveland’s offense and essentially shut them down.

The Browns receivers had a really rough go of it in Sunday because the ball was either being overthrown by Griffin, who struggled in the second half, or they were dropping passes thrown at them. The running game was slightly better but not by much, which made it an easy victory for the Eagles.

To make matters worse for the Browns, Griffin was hurt late in the game, and on Monday, the team placed him on IR, which means he won’t be back on the field before week 10. The good news for Cleveland Browns is that the loss of Griffin all but guarantees they will have the first pick in the draft next year, hopefully they finally find their quarterback of the future.

Why Smart Bettors are Flocking to the Buffalo Bills for 2015-6

 

 

How many games will the Buffalo Bills win this year? Sportsbooks have set the betting line at 8.5.  Surprisingly, our Artificial Intelligence computer Beardog has the Bills ranked 5th behind New England, Seattle, Dallas and Green Bay due to its strong defense.

 

Buffalo has a new coach in Rex Ryan whose unusual formations, blitzes and overall defensive expertise should further strengthen the defense. We project the defensive line to have about 62 sacks this season. Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus and Jerry Hughes are as deadly a unit as any in the NFL. They forced 6 fumbles last year.Last year Buffalo was fourth in yards and points given up. There is absolutely no reason that prowess shouldn’t continue this season.

 

If Tom Brady’s suspension is upheld the Bills and their awesome defense will face a green Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 2. Ralph Wilson Stadium is one of the most difficult stadiums for opposing teams to play in due to the rowdy fans and bitter weather.Most of the Bills strong opponents in the next season will be played at home.

 

Hopefully Rex Ryan is smart enough to not play E.J. Manuel. With Manuel on the bench, Tyrod Taylor or Kyle Orton will be in, thus their quarterback problems should dissipate especially if Taylor plays the first game. But in any event Sammy Watkins is a highly talented receiver who we project to have 70 catches and 1000 yards in 2015.

 

Finally, the running back by committee should keep the backfield healthy for what looks like a productive season. LeSean McCoy, recently acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles, is expected to have  recovered  from a hamstring pull and will be supported by capable veteran Fred Jackson. In addition, the Bills also have Boobie Dixon as well as Karlos Williams the impressive rookie from Florida State. Look for Ryan to pound the ball on the ground, attack with his defense and roll easily to 9 victories or more!