Buffalo Bills: 4 Storylines to Watch for Bills/Jets


The Buffalo Bills enter the second game of a three-game AFC East swing, where after defeating the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, the team has a chance to climb the division standings on Thursday night when they take on the New York Jets.

Here are four storylines to monitor while you watch the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets square off in the the Thursday Night primetime game in the Meadowlands.

1. How will both teams respond to a short week?

A compressed work week for the players is always a strain. They don’t have much time to recover, or install a sophisticated game plan, so the Thursday Night games have become a dreadful product to watch where it’s a war of attrition more than it is an actual game.

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  • With both teams already banged up, the Bills more so than the Jets, it will be interesting to see how both teams approach Thursday’s game. Perhaps we’ll see a more sub-packages with players going on-and-off the field to help negate the fatigue factor.

    Regardless, both teams are dealing with the short week, so neither has an advantage. Based off historical trends, however, some would say the home team has an advantage in these games, as they boast a 28-23 record on Thursday Night Football.

    2. Sammy Watkins vs. Darrelle Revis

    Coming off an eight catch, 168-yard, one touchdown performance on Sunday, Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins looks to be taking a step forward this season.

    Just how far along is he in his development, though? Well, we will find out on Thursday night when he pays a visit to “Revis Island”.

    Last season, Watkins hauled in two receptions for 27 yards (three total targets) when the Bills played the Patriots in Week 6. Although he put together a better stat line during their Week 17 matchup (three receptions, 57 yards, five targets), the Patriots were disinterested to say the least.

    With Revis likely to shadow Watkins throughout Thursday’s contest, it will be interesting to see how the Bills No. 1 wideout performs.

    3. Redemption for Rex Ryan and his coaching staff

    Oct 25, 2015; London, United Kingdom; Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan walks off the field after 34-31 loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars during NFL International Series game at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    When Rex Ryan was hired by the Buffalo Bills in January, each game against the New England Patriots and New York Jets — his former team — immediately became more interested.

    Known for his hype and trash talk, Ryan is not shy about expressing his feelings. While this game is sure to be personal for him, it’s also a chance for the rest of the Bills coaching staff to stick it to their former employer. With 11 members of Ryan’s Jets coaching staff with him at Buffalo, you can bet they want to win this game just as much as Rex does.

    On the other side of the field, the Jets have a number of connections to the Bills. Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey was the Bills head coach from 2010-2012. Jets quarterback coach Kevin Patullo was also with the Bills during that time. Jets defensive line coach Pepper Johnson was the Bills d-line coach last season. And of course, the Jets quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, was the Bills pivot from 2009-2012, playing in a total of 55-games for the Bills.

    4. Who will win up front?

    Both teams love to run the football, and both teams have imposing defensive lines that can wreak havoc.

    After ripping off 266 rushing yards against the Miami Dolphins, the Bills will look to continue their success on the ground this week. The offensive line will have their work cut out for them, though, as the Jets are one of the NFL’s top run defences.

    Similar to the Bills, the Jets are a run-first team, which is something the Bills have defended well this year, as they also rank in the top 10 for rush defence.

    With elite players in the trenches for both teams, whoever can set the edge and dictate the pace of play upfront should have an advantage on Thursday night.

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    But again, with studs like Mario Williams, Marcell Dareus, Jerry Hughes, Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams in the trenches defensively, both offensive lines will be challenged.