New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills Preview: Do Not Force the Rushing Game 1
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 29: Quarterback Josh McCown #15 of the New York Jets in action against the Atlanta Falcons in a heavy rain storm during their game at MetLife Stadium on October 29, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)

The New York Jets must attack early and often with the Buffalo Bills coming into MetLife Stadium for a “Thursday Night Football” affair.

Would you like to shock the world? If so, you’ll have to take risks. You’ll have to push the envelope. You’ll have to capitalize on what’s presented.

With a 3-5 record this season, the once thought of hapless New York Jets have already sent mini-shockwaves through the NFL, yet a strong case can be made that they’ve actually underachieved.

In any case, the Jets will look to snap a bitter three-game losing streak on Thursday Night Football when the AFC East rival Buffalo Bills come to visit.

Week 1, Stats

These two squads squared off in Week 1. It was a 21-12 onslaught by the home team who ran all over the befuddled Jets.

Buffalo ran for 190 yards in total on 42 carries. On the other side, the Jets could only muster 38 yards on 15 attempts. In other words, the Bills completely dominated the trenches.

After another horrific effort defending the run in Week 2 in Oakland, Darron Lee and the boys have raised the bar. In terms of offensive rushing, things have pretty much stayed the same.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – OCTOBER 29: Bilal Powell of the New York Jets gives Keanu Neal of the Atlanta Falcons a stiff arm while running the ball during their game at MetLife Stadium on October 29, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

As of right now, the Jets rank 22nd with 95.8 yards per game on the ground with a 4.0 YPC. However, if the two big runs against Jacksonville are taken out of the equation — one of which came via a fortunate situation when Bilal Powell fell down and scampered for 75 yards untouched — the Jets would rank 31st in the league with a porous 3.2 YPC.

The Bills run defense is stout coming in having only allowed 80.1 yards on the ground per contest. Only the Philadelphia Eagles and Denver Broncos boast better units.

In a stark contrast, Buffalo’s pass defense ranks fourth to last in the NFL. There are some defensive teams and defensive minds who stubbornly defend the run first and foremost despite how badly the back end is getting beat and the Bills fall in this category.

In fact, Bowles has always also shared this philosophy, but this year’s been an anomaly in terms of that specific thought.

Injury Report

Safety Terrence Brooks and right tackle Brandon Shell will most likely miss the game. For Shell, it’ll be his second straight DNP. Fullback Lawrence Thomas will also be out which means far fewer pro personnel formations and much more two-tight end and three wide receiver looks.

Muhammad Wilkerson and Morris Claiborne are both officially listed as questionable. Claiborne also missed the walkthrough on Wednesday so he’ll most likely be a game-time decision.

On Buffalo’s side, Charles Clay and E.J. Gaines will miss the contest. In fact, the team is relatively healthy for the midseason.

Jets Keys to Victory

1. Don’t Force the Rushing Attack

This has been a plaguing issue for the Jets all season long. Under the conservative nature of Bowles, they play with a defensive attitude and roll offensively very close to the vest.

They don’t feel as though their personnel can handle passing the ball 40-plus times a game, so they never do. Instead, they’ll continue to force the run despite never finding much success.

Look at the last three games. Each game showcased the Jets hopping up early with a lead via the passing game. Josh McCown would use Robby Anderson or Jermaine Kearse to burn the eight-man box and grab a lead.

ORCHARD PARK, NY – SEPTEMBER 10: Marcus Maye #26 of the New York Jets attempts to tackle LeSean McCoy #25 of the Buffalo Bills during the first half on September 10, 2017 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

In the second half, the Jets would run the ball with no success and allow the opposition to get back into it with an awful standard four-man pass rush.

New York needs to throw early and often and then do it again with the lead when the second half opens up. It’s the only possible way the running game could ever get going — to stun the defense and make them respect McCown. Force them to get out of those eight-man boxes.

2. Shut Down LeSean McCoy

LeSean McCoy is the heart of the Bills offense. Whether it comes in the form of the rushing game or through the air, Darron Lee and Jamal Adams will have their hands full.

Final Thoughts

To watch the 3-5 Jets underachieve is actually more infuriating than witnessing a 0-8 campaign dripped in pure awfulness. When looking at the depth chart, there is tremendous talent on board.

At home, we’ll take the Jets. Even with the Bills looking like a tremendous club at 5-2, with a couple of great wins (Atlanta included), we’ve seen this story before. So many seasons have come and gone with Buffalo teasing the fans early only to fall flat on their faces later.

McCown will torch Buffalo early. Let’s just hope Bowles and OC John Morton learn their lesson and allow him to do the same with the lead in the third quarter.

New York Jets 27, Buffalo Bills 17

Robby Sabo is a co-founder, CEO and credentialed New York Jets content creator for Jets X-Factor - Jet X, which includes Sabo's Sessions (in-depth film breakdowns) and Sabo with the Jets. Host: Underdog Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet and Sabo Radio. Member: Pro Football Writers of America. Coach: Port Jervis (NY) High School. Washed up strong safety and 400M runner. SEO: XL Media. Founder: Elite Sports NY - ESNY (Sold in 2020). SEO: XL Media. Email: robby.sabo[at]