The Buffalo Bills played each of the final four teams in 2010, and unsurprisingly went 0-5 against those four teams. Still, that doesn't mean we can't preview the NFL's conference championship games by looking back at those five contests. We'll start with the AFC side of the coin and flip to the NFC later this morning.
Newly installed quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Bills against the New York Jets in the teams' first meeting during Week 4. The Jets pulled away early, scoring the first 17 points, then scoring 21 in the third quarter to put the game away. The final score read 38-14, but the game was never that close. In Week 17, the playoff-bound Jets beat up the Bills 38-7 with Brian Brohm in for Fitzpatrick.
Taking a deeper look, the Jets running attack pounded the Bills into submission. New York's sturdy offensive line manhandled the Bills' front seven, rolling up 273 yards and two touchdowns on 49 carries in the first game. In the second, game the ball control offense rushed for 276 yards on 50 carries. Buffalo also combined for eight turnovers against the Jets in their two meetings.
While the Bills were manhandled by the Jets they held their own in their only meeting with the Steelers in 2010. In their week 12 matchup Buffalo pushed Pittsburgh to overtime where Stevie Johnson could have won the game with a touchdown catch in overtime. Instead his drop opened the door for a 19-16 Steelers win that ended up helping Pittsburgh to a first round bye and the AFC North crown.
Pittsburgh, like the Jets, ran a lot and racked up 45 rushing attempts and 206 yards on the ground. The Steelers' 10 penalties were one factor that allowed the Bills to keep the score close as well as a 65-yard catch and run by Fred Jackson on a day when not much on the offense was working.
Based purely on the games against the Bills, it would appear the Jets have the upper hand in this game. The Jets pounded the rock with great success against the Bills defense and shut down the Bills passing offense to the tune of a combined 234 passing yards in their two match-ups. The Steelers had less success running the ball against Buffalo's front seven and allowed 265 passing yards in the single game against the Bills. Both rush defenses only allowed an average of about 75 rushing yards to the Bills.