Bills v. Jets, Round 2: Showdown for Second Place

Posted: November 26, 2011 by ndbohlen in Jets, NFL, Prediction
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Nick: You might have lost badly to my beloved Patriots (boo-yah!), but at least you had an easy bounceback game against the Denver Broncos on Thursday night.

Wait, what? Your team lost? On a 95-yard drive led by Tim Tebow and his 46.9 career completion percentage? WOW. That sucks. What’s that make the Jets, 5-5? Two games back in the AFC East? You probably aren’t even in the playoff picture, huh? Not even a wild card at this point? Man. Tough break.

Mike: I’m going to stay as optimistic as I can about the Jets’ playoff hopes. They’ll need to be near perfect because they are unlikely to hold a tie-break over any other AFC wildcard contender. But the Jets are statistically one of the better teams in the hunt right now. But it needs to be converted to wins.

I’ve taken some comfort from the ESPN Playoff Predictor they have. If you select “Defense” as the determining factor for the next six weeks, then the Pats actually miss the playoffs (because each of their opponents have a better defense, and therefore the predictor has them losing every game) and the Jets take the third seed and AFC East. That’s how it’s going down.

Nick: Good luck with your notion of the Pats losing the rest of the way. Let me know how that turns out for you.

At least you have the Bills coming to town this week, the very same team from Buffalo which you spanked 27-11 three weeks ago. The Bills have since run their losing streak to three games, getting pounded by Big D (I was left with no choice) 44-7 and dunked by the Dolphins 35-8. They have now securely situated themselves into the “Pretender” category and eliminated any feelings of good will or hope that the city of Buffalo had during the fall when the Bills were in first place at 5-2. Now it’s cold, snowy, blustery, and the Bills suck.

Sorry, Buffalo. It’s winter again. And you don’t have Rex Ryan’s fat folds to keep you warm.

Mike: Like his pregnant-looking paunch, Ryan’s dominance over the Bills as head coach of the Jets is pretty impressive. The Jets average 250 yards rushing against the Bills. That’s outstanding. When you run the ball for over 200 yards, you have the game in a choke-hold. If Rex has learned anything this season it’s the motto, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The Jets run the ball well to begin with — they shouldn’t have changed the offensive plan. The Jets run through the Bills like an 18-wheeler through a wall of pillows — if the Jets try something fancy this week, the crowd might demand a blood price from Schottenheimer.

Nick: The only wrinkle in the Jets running game this week is that Greene is going to be playing hurt. In theory, that could keep them from cracking the two-century mark. But with the Bills missing their best interior defensive linemen, the Jets O-line should be able to create holes even your asthmatic ass could fit through.

Mike: I guess I’ll take that as a compliment. Coming from you, that’s about the closest I’m going to get, isn’t it?

Nick: Pretty much. What can I say? I hate the Jets.

Speaking of things I target with all my pent-up hatred , how do you think Mark Sanchez is going to fare this week?

Mike: I know you’ll find this hard to believe, but three weeks ago, the Jets had a solid passing offense going. Sanchez threw 14 passing first down — twice as many as Fitzpatrick — on his way to a 92.9 passer rating.

And if we’re going to start looking at the Pythagorean theorem of sports, as our guru Bill Barnwell would have us do, the Jets are outscoring their opponent on average by 1.1 point this year. The Bills are being outscored by 2.4 points. The Jets’ often-times sputtering offense is receiving a lot of help from the defense (even if both sides of the team aren’t playing up to the level they envisioned at the season’s start). The Bills defense, on the other hand, is not strong enough to compensate for the 14.3 points their offense has averaged over the last five games.

Nick: I think the Jets can take this game pretty easily with the way Buffalo has turned into Buffa-blow (it didn’t even take me that long to think of that play on words!). Even though Sanchez is playing so poorly that Rex has had to resort to superstitious motivational strategies, I think Sanchez can put up more points than your defense allows.

How’s that for analysis?

Mike: Scintillating as always, Nick.

If we’re really going to talk about motivational strategies, I’d much rather see my team’s QB benched during practice in order to make him break the spell and start winning than have to see him benched during a game so that some no-name journeyman can take his place and even eat up minutes on the game clock. Especially if that QB has been inked for tons of cash.

Nick: All things equal, your secondary should be able to take away the underneath routes that Ryan Fitzpatrick depends on, since he apparently can’t throw a deep ball. He even got benched last week for Tyler Thigpen. I know, he sounds like a Peanuts character, not a quarterback, and Thigpen didn’t even recently sign a $59 million contract. Even better for the Jets, Fred Jackson was just placed on injured reserve, so you barely even have to worry about the running game. (C.J. Spiller? Please.)  Considering the Bills haven’t scored in double digits since they put up a whopping 11 points against the Jets in Week 9, I don’t see how the Bills get in the end zone more than once (if that).

Mike: The ESPN blogger, James Walker, made a pretty good point saying that this game might involve a lot of Antonio Cromartie. Since Picks-patrick is unlikely to throw anything in the direction of Revis Christ and Fred Jackson (who was third in rushing yards this year before going on IR) is not playing, the passing game might focus on Cromartie’s assignment. The Jets’ second choice to Nnamdi Asomugha, Cromartie has had some spectacular games and some games that he singlehandedly lost for the team with blown coverages or, more often, with costly pass interference penalties. Most of my anxiety going into this Sunday will focus on #31.

Nick: Walker is probably right. The Bills won’t have much of a running game, and with Revis shutting down Stevie Johnson, Fitzpatrick will have to look to the other side of the field. Since Revis can lock down his receiver singlehandedly, Cromartie should have some help from his safeties, though, which means trouble for the Bills.

As with the last time these teams played, I think it comes down to whether Sanchez can take care of the football or not. Since the Bills apparently can’t score anymore, the only way they stay in this game is if they can force turnovers and score some points on defense and with short fields.

But since you’re in fandom free fall right now, though, how many other ways can you envision the Jets losing this week? Another muffed punt by Joe McKnight? LT’s injury dooms the Jets offense to another performance by Mediocre Mark (I kind of like that nickname)? Plaxico guns everybody down in a fit of the Incarcerated Crazies? Or are you somehow surprisingly optimistic about your team despite two bad losses in a row?

Mike: There are a million different ways that I can imagine the Jets losing this game. And there are probably more that I’m not thinking of, because God knows I couldn’t even imagine the Jets losing to the Broncos last week. The Jets could ruin themselves with more clock management blunders. They could also lose if the entire team decides to stop tackling like they did in the last minutes of the game last week. Or Eric Smith could continue be one of the least effective safeties of all time. Or the offensive line could allow Sanchez to become even more of a rag doll than he’s been the last two games (would that make him a Raggedy Anita?).

I also see a scenario in which Joe Namath comes down the field, kicks both Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez in the balls and demands that he assume the positions of head coach and QB. He would also convene a press conference on the side line in order to guarantee a victory in the game. He would lose but the world of football would have watched a senior citizen talk shit and play professional football… so I think the fans would win.

Nick: I can only hope Namath comes and lays the smackdown on Sanchez and Ryan. Barring the possibility that Namath doesn’t take his meds, I think the Jets handle business as usual at home, where they’re 4-1. (That one loss certainly stings though, don’t it?) Final score: Jets 27, Bills 13

Mike: I’ve had enough of this nauseous feeling that comes from the Jets losing a huge game to the Pats and choking away a gimme in Denver. Jets sweep the Bills this season. Final Score: Jets 30, Bills 14

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