Boy Green goes ‘Behind Enemy Lines’ with BuffaLowDown ahead of an AFC East showdown between the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills.
It’s a rematch of AFC East titans, but this time finally we’ll see Josh Allen vs. Sam Darnold for the first time in their respective careers. If the cards are played right, this will renew the New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills rivalry for the next decade plus.
On this edition of “Behind Enemy Lines,” Boy Green sat down with Daniel Hahn of the BuffaLowDown to ask five burning questions heading into this matchup.
1. Josh Allen has been super impressive running the football, how has his game developed pre-injury and post-injury?
Since the injury, Josh Allen has drastically improved his decision making and pocket awareness. The biggest issue for Josh is his accuracy. That won’t be fixed mid-season. Instead, he’s improved pocket presence and knowing when to run, how to run forward rather than backward and to throw the ball away.
In consecutive weeks Allen has set team QB rushing records with 99 yards versus the Jaguars and broke his own record the next week with 134 yards versus Miami.
Allen isn’t running an RPO system, there was only one designed run for him versus Miami. He’s going thru progressions, buying time, and if you forget about him he’s faster than defenses think.
Allen has truly looked more comfortable since his return. I can’t tell you exactly the biggest change the Bills made with him, but it’s clear the NFL game has slowed down for him and he’s much more under control.
2. How does the previous Jets-Bills game this year with Matt Barkley factor at all into this game on Sunday?
It should factor into the motivation for the Jets. The Bills came into New Jersey earlier this season remembering that the Jets literally danced on them last season.
The Bills got their revenge, and now it’s the Jets turn. For the Bills, this is a great test to see if the young players (Bills are 3rd in NFL for percentage playing time for first/second-year players) cannot get too confident preparing for a team they’ve already defeated.
What Matt Barkley specifically did, was execute the offense. If any players questioned, can this offense work? Barkley put on a show that really re-energized the offense and got Zay Jones specifically involved. Something Allen was finally able to replicate this past weekend.
3. Speaking of, all the winning the Bills are doing won’t take them to the playoffs but is messing with their draft position, is that a point of contention among Bills fans?
For fans it is. For the team, it is not. This is a young team that has its coaching staff set, and a franchise QB. While everybody would love the top pick, what’ is more valuable to them is the confidence of the two draft classes already contributing to the roster.
How good would you feel about Josh Allen as your franchise QB if he was 2-6 as a starter? That’s the point of still playing to win.
On the nerdy mock draft side of things, who do you tank for if you’re Buffalo? The Bills need a little bit of everything, and there isn’t a need to get the top anything. The Bills need another quality draft, and for fans, they can relax. Brandon Beane may enjoy trading as much as Popeye loves spinach. The Bills traded in the draft to acquire CB Tre’Davious White, QB Josh Allen, LB Tremaine Edmunds, and LT Dion Dawkins. All of whom who are locked in long-term at those key positions. All found all over the draft and none in the top 5.
4. Who are the straws that stir the drink for the Bills on offense and defense?
On offense, it’s clearly Josh Allen. When you see him play it’s quick to see, that what he lacks in polish he makes up in competitiveness. He will literally will the offense around the field. When he gets solid help from the running game, he’s virtually unstoppable.
I am totally biased on that last sentence.
On defense, it’s been second-year LB Matt Milano. His counterpart Edmunds gets a lot of the eyes due to his draft position, but Milano has really been a surprise to fans this season. Milano is making impact plays, getting turnovers, and playing smart.
What seemed like a spot for an upgrade in 2019, now seems like a multi-year locked in starter with Milano. He seems underwhelming to look at, but he’s really the lightning rod for this defense with his impact moments.
5. Finally, how do you see this one playing out?
Bills win the game. This can happen in a few ways, but if the Bills get an early lead, they’ll win. Forcing a returning Darnold to throw to keep pace is the best formula for success.
The Bills are on the rise, and the Jets seem ready for vacation. Buffalo is a young team with shaky special teams, so while anything can happen. Bills should win.