Bills, Fitzpatrick Must Exploit Weakened Jets D

FOXBORO MA - SEPTEMBER 26: Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the Buffalo Bills looks for an open man in the second half against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on September 26 2010 in Foxboro Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

New Buffalo Bills starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was productive enough in Week 3 to get the team's former starter released. Taking advantage of a young, inexperienced New England defense, Fitzpatrick threw for 247 yards and two scores - along with two interceptions - in a 38-30 loss. He played well, but was aided by the Patriots' struggles defensively.

Fitzpatrick will receive similar aid in Week 4, when the New York Jets visit Ralph Wilson Stadium. Playing without star cornerback Darrelle Revis and top pass rusher Calvin Pace (both of whom may not be available this Sunday, and will be limited at best), the Jets have struggled to defend the pass, ranking No. 27 in the NFL and surrendering 275 passing yards per game. Joe Flacco (248 yards), Tom Brady (248 yards, two TD) and Chad Henne (363 yards, two TD) have all had solid outings, and each Jets opponent has been able to get at least two receivers six or more receptions through the Jets' first three games.

Aside from Revis' absence, the Jets are also struggling to generate heat on opposing quarterbacks. With just five sacks through three games - one more than the Bills and their fledgling pass rush - Flacco, Brady and especially Henne have been able to dissect the Jets' back seven with relative ease.

There will be opportunities to make plays through the air, but even weakened, this Jets defense is still very good. Without even considering the exotic blitz schemes that are likely to confuse Buffalo's young, overmatched offensive line, the Jets have a dominant run defense, currently ranked fourth in the league. They're giving up a paltry 62 rushing yards per game. They've also intercepted four passes, recovered two QB fumbles, and Flacco, Brady and Henne have still only posted a collective QB rating of 75.6. Given Fitzpatrick's gunslinger mentality and accuracy issues, the Bills will need to proceed with caution if their plan is to try to beat the Jets through the air.

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