This whole week I have been afraid of this game vs. the Jets. I predicted a 23-13 Jets win. As the days go by, I am starting to wonder why I am afraid of the Jets? The only logical reason is that they are the Jets and we are the Bills and Rex Ryan owns us and we just cannot win in New York, or in any big game vs. this team. This is 2014 though and this Jets team is 1-6. They lost to the Lions and Bears at home, both teams the Bills defeated on the road. The Jets beat Oakland by 5 at home for their only win and lost 31-0 to San Diego. They have been simply awful and now that they have played 2 tough games in a row both of which they lost, they are the best 1-6 team ever. The Jets are the first team in the history of the league to be favored against a team with a winning record, which says about as much about the Bills as it does about the Jets.
The Bills are a Jay Cutler interception, Alex Henery missed field goals and Kyle Orton 4th and 20 away from being 1-6 themselves. How much is really separating this Bills team from the 1-6 Jets? The answer is...not much.
Offensively, the Bills rank 27th and the Jets 28th in points per game. The Bills are 22nd in the league in yards per game, the Jets 26th. Statistically speaking, both teams have been awful on offense (though with Orton in there, the Bills passing offense has been dramatically improved the last three games...running the ball is another story).
Defensively, the Bills have fared much better in points per game allowed (10th vs. 26th), but the Jets are actually allowing fewer yards per game (ranking 8th vs. the Bills 10th). The Jets defense is getting a pass for allowing so many points because they have faced such difficult competition this far. This is part of the reason why the media loves the Jets this week. They are 1-6 but have faced such great quarterbacks. They have faced Manning, Rodgers, Brady, Rivers, Cutler and Stafford. What people are not considering is that the Bills have faced 4 of those 6 players as well. The Bills have beaten Cutler and Stafford and faced Brady and Rivers. The Bills schedule hasn't exactly been a cake walk is all I am saying.
At the end of the day, these teams are even and given the history of this rivalry the past few years, it is hard to predict a Bills win. In 2008, the Bills were 5-1, lost to Miami and then came home to face off against Brett Favre and the Jets in the "biggest Bills game of the new millenium." The Jets wiped the floor with the Bills in what effectively ended their season. In 2011, the Bills were 5-2 and the Jets were in town with Rex Ryan for the "biggest Bills game of the new millenium." Rex Ryan owned the Bills and completely exposed Fitzpatrick and the offense and Ladainian Tomlinson flashed back to 2005 and ran all over the Bills defense. Those two games were the last two times the Bills faced the Jets with a winning record in which they were having legitimate playoff aspirations (ironically - both of those losses were the 8th game of the season as well). The Jets squashed them and anyone who really knew anything about the Bills knew those respective seasons were over.
The Bills have an opportunity Sunday to make a statement as the 2nd best team in the AFC East and the Patriots number 1 contender. In my opinion, the entire 2014 season rides on this Sunday's game. This is a must win if the Bills want to entertain any realistic playoff opportunities. The next 4 games are KC at home, at Miami, Jets at home and Cleveland at home. A loss vs. the Jets means the Bills absolutely must win the next 4 games (they will likely be dogs vs. KC and at Miami). And EVEN IF they do pull of 4 straights wins to get to 8-4, they will most likely need to win 2 of their last 4. GIving them a win vs. Oakland on the road means they have to win a game at Denver, vs. Green Bay or at New England. Is that really going to happen? Needless to say, a win vs. the Jets is a must but I need to stick to my original 23-13 prediction.