Looking ahead to Sundays opening regular season game against the Bills, we focus on a few key areas on the field. Winning these key battles will build a part of winning formula, as both teams bid to come out of week one triumphant.
Head to head history:
The Jets have won seven of the last eight meetings, with the Jets undefeated in the last five games. The Bills last tasted victory back in October 2009 (16 - 13 in overtime). Despite the Jets recent dominance, the Bills still have the upper hand in the series 54 - 49.
Quarterbacks: Sanchez Vs Fitzpatrick
When comparing the obvious statistics between the two, and you'd be hard pushed to decide on who is the better QB. Delve a little deeper into the stats and it points clearly to Mark Sanchez as the guy you'd want on your team, why? well here's two reasons; (1) The ability to win the big game, when it matters (think play-offs) (2) The tenacity, determination sheer will to win, which is clearly evident during his 9 fourth quarter come-backs and 11 game winning drives compared to Fitzpatricks 5 fourth quarter come-backs and 6 game winning drives (having played 10 games more). Edge Jets
Running Game/ Defense
The Bills have one of the best one, two punches in the NFL in the form of running backs Fred Jackson and C.J Spiller. Jackson was on course for a career year before succumbing to injury, he ran up an impressive 934 yards (avg 5.5 per carry) in just ten games. Spiller continued where Jackson left off as he averaged 5.2 yards per carry. Shonn Green had one of the most uninspiring and uneventful 1000+ yards rushing season that I've ever seen, despite averaging 4.2 yards per carry. The Jets were ranked 13th overall against the run, with the Bills back in 28th with them surrendering an average of 139 yards per game compared to the Jets 111.1 yards. On the flip side, the Bills were ranked 13th (rushing offense) with an average of 120.1 yards per game compared to the Jets 105.8 yards. Overall on defense the Jets were ranked 20th, the Bills 30th. Despite the Bills advantage in the running game the Jets simply have an all round better defense. Edge Jets.
Mario Williams (Bills Pash Rush) Vs Austin Howard (Jets O-Line)
Having acquired the most sort after free agent this off-season in the form of defensive end Mario Williams, Austin Howard will be up against it from the first snap. Howard the former Eagle has only made one start during his brief NFL career. Whilst its tough to judge how affective Howard will be from one pre-season game that I've seen, I was impressed by his strength and lateral movement but its no secret that Howard is th underdog in this battle (giving up two or less sacks would be more than accepable in my eyes). Williams the two time pro-bowler has 53 career sacks to his name, but fear not Jets fans, as Williams is not as affective on the road having only recorded 19.5 sacks compared to the 33.5 when playing at home. In addition to Williams the Bills have Mark Anderson and Marcell Dareus. Between them they accounted for 15.5 sacks last season and I'd expect the Bills will be eager to establish dominance in the trenches. Eyes will also be on D'Brickashaw Ferguson who's poor 2011 season was swept under the carpet thanks to Wayne Hunter ongoing inability to block. Edge Bills.
Revis Vs Johnson
The only guy to get a touchdown on Revis last year was Stevie Johnson, along with 75 receiving yards the media are spinning it that Johnson has Revis's number. Johnson has posted back to back 1000+ yards (receiving) scoring 17 touchdowns. Johnson is listed as questionable as of this moment, but as a fan this is the key match-up we all want to see. I expect Revis to give up no more than 50 yards to Johnson. Revis gets the benefit of decisions due to his ability and reputation, and when taking this onboard, along with the added benefit of the replacement referee's who calls have been questionable throughout the pre-season (think Dolphins last year, Revis, Marshall, I expect more of this) I see no reason why Revis won't shut down Johnson. Edge Jets
In conclusion the Jets will win the key battles pointed out, add to this the element of surprise with the unveiling of the wildcat/Tebow package (or whatever its called). I expect it to be a scrappy low scoring affair with the Jets winning 17-14 (yes this a change to my podcast prediction).
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