Week 1: Bills vs. Jets
The NFL season kicks off and the opening game for the Bills looks to be the biggest in years. While one game won't make or kill a season, this opener carries a little more weight than others. The Bills and Jets figure to battle for 2nd place in the AFC East and possibly the same wild card spot so the winner of this game will have the confidence and a big early edge in that fight.
Sunday, Sept. 9th
FACTS AND FIGURES
||Buffalo (0-0) vs. N.Y. Jets (0-0)
||Network: CBS; DirecTV: 711; Sirius: 106
||Marv Albert and Rich Gannon
||Jets by 3
||Bills lead 53-49 (Bills 1-0 in playoffs)
||Jets Won 5
||Jets 28-24 in New Jersey (2011)
|Jets Offense (2011):
||Rush (22nd); Pass (21st); overall (25th)
|Jets Defense (2011):
||Rush (13th); Pass (5th); overall (5th)
|Bills Offense (2011):
||Rush (13th); Pass (15th); overall (14th)
|Bills Defense (2011):
||Rush (28th); Pass (19th); overall (26th)
The Bills are pretty healthy heading into the regular season. Brad Smith has a chance at playing as he has returned to practice. He suffered a groin injury in the preseason finale. Kraig Urbik has a sore back but should be fine. Stevie Johnson says his troublesome groin is 90% and he will play. Erik Pears and Terrence McGee should play but may be limited as they continue their slow recoveries from injuries. Ron Brooks has been placed on injured reserve with his broken foot.
Jets TE Dustin Keller has been sidelined with a hamstring injury but is expected to be ready for the game. RB Joe McKnight is battling back from a hamstring injury and should go. NT Sione Po'uha has missed the entire preseason with a back injury but says he will be ready for the game although Rex Ryan isn't so sure. LB David Harris is slowed with an ankle injury. S Eric Smith has a knee injury and may miss the game. LB Bryan Thomas was off to the side in practice early this week working with trainers and has been limited.
Check out our Bills Daily Injury Page throughout the week for the latest updates on the injured players.
WR Stevie Johnson vs. CB Darrelle Revis:
This is by far the most intriguing matchup of this game. Revis Island normally gives up nothing but Johnson is just about the only receiver in the league that has had some success against him. The numbers are still pedestrian compared to top receiver numbers against other corners.
LT Cordy Glenn vs. LB Calvin Pace:
Glenn will make his NFL debut and will have to handle Pace in the 3-4 defense of the Jets. Glenn needs to hold his own to give Fitzpatrick time to throw and must be ready for all the different blitz schemes that the Jets run.
DE Mario Williams vs. RT Austin Howard:
Williams lining up on left end will be interesting to watch as most top pass rushers line up on the QB's blind side at right end. That means he will face most teams 2nd best tackle on the right side. Howard is a young and inexperienced tackle so Williams should have a huge advantage.
RB Fred Jackson vs. LB David Harris:
The Bills need to be able to run the ball and when Jackson gets to the second level Harris is the man he will have to watch for most as he is a very good tackler.
CB Stephon Gilmore vs. WR Santonio Holmes:
The rookie will have to play with a steady hand against the Jets best receiver. If he can take Holmes out of the game it will limit the Jets passing attack.
DTs Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus vs. C Nick Mangold:
The Bills men in the middle will battle the Jets All-Pro Center so it will be interesting to see which player Mangold takes on as the battle in the middle will go a long way in deciding this football game.
KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Contain The Wildcat: The Bills believe that they have the resources they need to contain whatever the Jets throw at the Bills in their Tim Tebow package. If they let him do his magic and get the crowd into the game it can be trouble for the Bills on defense.
2. Keep The Jets Offense On The Sidelines: The Jets have had a tumultuous offseason and a weak preseason especially on offense. If the Bills force a few quick punts early the home crowd could turn on QB Mark Sanchez real quick and the sooner the boo birds come out the quicker it will deflate the Jets who may be lacking confidence to start the season.
3. Stop The Run: Everyone is talking about the Bills new and improved pass rush but they couldn't stop the run last year and the Jets will try to run it early and often. The Bills must stop the ground game and force Sanchez into the air.
BILLS DAILY PREDICTION
This is a tough one to call. The Jets have had an awful offseason and the Bills on paper had a great one. Neither team impressed in the preseason however. It is a tough division battle on the road to open the season. It will be a good benchmark in finding out if this team is for real. I think they may be, it will be a closely fought defensive battle but the Bills should squeak by:
Bills 13, Jets 10
Season Prediction Record: (0-0)
Season Record Against The Spread: (0-0)
Bills Blitz - Coming Sunday Night or Monday Morning!
Gameday Grades - Coming Sunday Night or Monday Morning!