Over the past several days, I've had people asking me what the Buffalo Bills could possibly learn about their current starters against the backups of the New York Jets. My response has been the same in each case: why would we see the Jets' backups?
New York has already clinched a playoff spot, and we know they'll be playing on the road in round one. But they're not locked into the sixth and final seed, and if they're able to slide up a seed, they could go from facing a tough Chiefs team in Arrowhead Stadium to a banged up Colts squad that still, of course, features Peyton Manning.
The Jets can accomplish that feat only if they beat Buffalo in the regular season finale. They'd need a loss from the Steelers and a win from the Ravens to pull it off, as well. In that scenario, Baltimore would win the AFC North, Pittsburgh would be the second wild card team, and the Jets hold a tiebreaker over Pittsburgh thanks to a head-to-head win. If Pittsburgh wins their division, the Jets are the six seed no matter what, thanks to the Ravens holding a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Jets.
Jets head coach Rex Ryan has toyed with the idea of resting Mark Sanchez in Week 17, but he's also eager to grab some momentum heading into the playoffs, as the Jets have lost three of their last four games. When Buffalo meets New York this Sunday, both teams should be playing their starters the majority of the game, if not the whole way through. That's the only way the game should be played.