Preview: Jets (5-4) v. Bills (3-7)

Florham Park, NJ - Hopefully, the bye week broke “the trend.” Or I at least hope the Jets lost some imaginary game during the bye. The Jets have gone into most of their match-ups this season being the underdogs and have defeated the odds pretty much 5 times (okay, probably 4 times.) This week Vegas will surely call the game in the Jets favor as they face their struggling division rivals in Buffalo. I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing. The second half of the season makes for a much less daunting set of match-ups. The Carolina Panthers (6-3) are the only team left on the Jets schedule with a winning record. The Bills have lost 3 straight and 5 of their last 6 games. It’s time for the team that’s surprised so many NFL fans that they can go on a streak.

Holmes and the receiving gang are back!

As a good Jets fan, you know that if the playoffs were to start today, they’d be in it. But there’s 7 games left in the season and if I had to guess (yes, I’m editorializing) you all better have some blood pressure lower prescriptions ready for weeks 16 and 17. As Rex would say to us in a press conference, right now, let’s just focus on this week.

When: Sunday, November 17, 2013, 1:00 pm (TV-CBS Radio-ESPN)

Where: Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, NY

Injury Report (as of Thursday)

Jets – DNP: WR Jeremy Kerley (elbow), LB Garrett McIntyre (knee), TE Kellen Winslow (knee), LMT: DT Kenrick Ellis (back), WR Santonio Holmes (foot, hamstring)

Bills – DNP: WR Steve Johnson (groin), WR Robert Woods (ankle), LMT: S Da’Norris Searcy (hamstring)

Game Keys:

-Defensive Line: Good thing this is a sweet spot for the Jets defensive, because the Bills are run team with backs C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson leading the way. On Sunday, they’ll be especially dependent on them as two of Buffalo’s top receivers, Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods will either be out or out of top form. To top that off, rookie QB E.J. Manuel is going into his second game after returning from an ankle injury which sidelined him for a month. The Jets’ have only allowed 3.1 yards per carry on average this season. The Bills averaged 4.8 yards per carry on September 22 when the two teams last faced each other. It should be interesting to see how the numbers change.

The offense returns- Santonio Holmes, Jeff Cumberland, and Kellen Winslow will all return to the field on Sunday. This starting receiving core haven’t been out there together for six games. The Jets have decent standings despite their absence, so it should be awesome to see what they can do with their offensive weapons back. Chris Ivory had an explosive game against the Saints, but with these guys back don’t be surprised to see Marty Mornhinweg get pass happy again. Also look to see WR David Nelson getting involved as he faces his former team.

Beware of the secondary- Do you remember how Stephen Hill showed up in the last game against Buffalo? He had a 108 receiving yards. Last game? He had 0. Holmes also rocked that game leading with 154 receiving yards. Don’t expect it to be as easy to rack up those numbers again. The Buffalo secondary was missing Stephon Gilmore and Jairus Byrd last time around.

X-Factor: All of the above. However, if I’m going to single out one player, my money is on Santonio Holmes for a big return game. This guy has missed too much football over the past two seasons. I hope we see him anxious to prove himself going into a contract year. When the Jets and the Bills meet, I always think of high numbers in receiving yards.

The Pick: This is a tough one. My gut hasn’t made up its mind yet and it’s usually particularly good at calling Jets games. Evan said a couple weeks ago in his prediction that he’s going to “ride the roller coaster until the pattern stops” and I’m still on the ride. So I guess I’m saying the Jets are going to make NFL history. With a loss this weekend, they’ll be the first team to alternate wins and losses up to this point in the season. The more doubt we throw their way, the more likely they are to surprise us. ;)

Bills win 23-10

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