GAME PREVIEW: JETS (6-9) vs. BILLS (5-10)
The Jets look to finish the 2012 on a positive note with a road victory against the Buffalo Bills. The offensive line is looking to rebound after coming one shy of tying the NFL record for sacks given up in a single game, in which quarterback Greg McElroy paid for the price. He will not play due to a concussion and an abdomen injury. Mark Sanchez will return to the top of the quarterback depth chart after being benched only two weeks ago.
“I’m going to start Mark Sanchez and the reason I’m starting Mark is we have two practices and one walk-through to get ready for Buffalo,” said Rex Ryan. “Mark has had success earlier in the season against Buffalo. He’s very familiar with them and that’s the reason I’m going with Mark.”
Even though the team is out of the race, it finds itself making headlines seemingly everyday. The rumor mill hasn’t been kind to Gang Green, whether dealing with coaches or players, but questions will be answered next week when the regular season is wrapped up.
It’s tough to gauge how the team will perform on Sunday. Motivation is the most obvious hurdle, but seeing how the players perform for Ryan will be something to look out for. If the Jets trot out and give a repeat performance of last Sunday’s game against San Diego, Ryan wouldn’t be making it easy for the Jets brass to bring him back.
This Sunday’s game against Buffalo may be the last game for many pieces in the Jets organization. The anticipation for what changes the Jets will make on and off the field is very high, but there is still one more game to impact decisions that will greatly affect this franchise.
WHEN: Sunday, December 30th, 2012, 1 pm EST (TV-CBS, Radio-ESPN)
WHERE: Ralph Wilson Stadium, Buffalo, NY
JETS—Out: CB Aaron Berry. Doubtful: TE Dustin Keller, QB Greg McElroy, WR Chaz Schilens, LB Bryan Thomas. Questionable: WR Braylon Edwards, CB Ellis Lankster. Probable: TE Jeff Cumberland, DT Kenrick Ellis, K Nick Folk, S LaRon Landry, P Robert Malone, C Nick Mangold, LB Garrett McIntyre, RB Joe McKnight, G Brandon Moore, LB Calvin Pace, DT Sione Pouha, RB Bilal Powell, QB Mark Sanchez, LB Ricky Sapp, LB Bart Scott, G Matt Slauson, QB Tim Tebow, DE Muhammad Wilkerson.
BILLS—Out: DE Mark Anderson, TE Scott Chandler, S Da’Norris Searcy. Probable: LB Nick Barnett, S Jairus Byrd, RB Dorin Dickerson, WR Marcus Easley, G Andy Levitre, CB Justin Rogers, RB C.J. Spiller, LB Chris White, DT Kyle Williams, DE Mario Williams, C Eric Wood.
Offensive Line: After being embarrassed last week against San Diego, the offensive line has to regroup to give the team any chance to end the season on a high note. The Bills have some serious talent in their front seven, but expect the veteran offensive line group of the Jets to have a prideful performance that will keep Sanchez relatively clean for the entire game.
Youth Movement: To steal a game key from Chris Nimbly from last week, the Jets must test out some of the younger pieces they have on the roster. Ryan had already voiced that some of the talent that usually is on the bench will be in full display against Buffalo. I think everyone is curious to see what talent we have in players like DeMario Davis, Antonio Allen and perhaps maybe even a Jordan White at wide receiver. The Jets could catch lightening in a bottle if one player can prove he belongs on the field.
Expectations for Sanchez: What do we want to see from Sanchez on Sunday? His performance on Sunday won’t change anyone’s opinion and no one thought we would be seeing him standing under center again in 2012, but I bet there is a group of people who want to see him orchestrate another clunker so they can be sure it is time to move forward. If he plays well, does it mean anything? Will ending the season with a zero-turnover, two-touchdown game make anyone’s feelings change? It’ll be interesting to see how Sanchez plays after the benching from his worst season as a professional and it will also be interesting to see if his play affects anyone’s opinion, whether it be fans or evaluators in the Jets organization.
Desire to finish strong—What else can you say? Everyone has had the discussion with friends that it’s ridiculous for any professional athlete to take a game off mentally but we all know it happens. The Heat lost to the Wizards this season in the NBA, it just happens. What else is there to ask for besides a performance from the players to show they haven’t given up with one game remaining? Of course they do not have to prove anything to anyone, or owe anyone anything, but it’ll just be positive. And everyone knows there hasn’t been a lot of positive flying around recently.
Jets 27—Bills 17