The Bills and Jets open the regular season this Sunday against each other in New Jersey. The Jets currently have a five-game win streak against the Bills. Let’s take a look at some of the matchups we’ll most likely see on Sunday:
WR Stevie Johnson vs. CB Darrelle Revis:
Steve Johnson averaged over 70 yards a game last year against Darrell Revis, who is considered the best CB in the league. But with Johnson being held out of practice this week, and recovering from the effects of groin surgery, will this impact Johnson’s game on Sunday. Also, is Revis amped up for this game, considering the media brought up the question “Does Johnson own Revis Island?”
LT Cordy Glenn vs. LB Calvin Pace:
Bills rookie LT Cordy Glenn will make his NFL debut on Sunday, and will face off against Calvin Pace. Glenn needs to hold his own to give Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick time in the pocket to throw, plus be ready for all the different blitz schemes that the Jets will throw at him. If Glenn struggles, Chan Gailey will have to put a TE or RB to help out Glenn.
DE Mario Williams vs. RT Austin Howard:
The most talked about player on the Bills roster this offseason is Defensive End (DE) Mario Williams. Williams is making his Bills debut and will be lining up on left end against former undrafted Free Agent Austin Howard, who was recently named the starting Right Tackle for the Jets. If the Jets don’t bring in an extra TE and RB to help slow down Super Mario, then it will be a very long day for Howard.
CB Stephon Gilmore vs. WR Santonio Holmes:
The Bills selected CB Stephon Gilmore in the first round of the draft this year to help shore up the Bills secondary. So far, Gilmore has shown a lot of promise in the offseason, but remember folks, the regular season is a different animal than preseason and training camp. Gilmore will have his hands full against Holmes, as Sanchez and new Jets Offensive Coordinator (OC) Tony Sparano will be targeting the rookie CB early and often.
DC Dave Wannstedt vs OC Tony Sparano
Both Dave Wannstedt and Tony Sparano are in new positions this year. Wannstedt was promoted from Inside Linebackers (ILB)/Assistant HC to Defensive Coordinator (DC) this offseason after George Edwards was fired. Tony Sparano was fired as HC of the Miami Dolphins, and replaced Brian Schottenheimer as the Jets OC. While neither one have been great HC’s, they have both been very successful coordinators. The Bills are expected to send a barrage of pressure with their highly touted front 4 consisting of Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus and Mark Anderson. Expect the Jets to use the wildcat often, and a lot of quick screen and sidelines passes to slow down the Bills pass rush.
In the past, the Jets have been able to pound the Bills with their run game, and QB Mark Sanchez has had all day long in the pocket. That appears to be different this year as the Bills made heavy investments to shore up their run defense and especially their abysmal pass rush. My final prediction: Bills 27, Jets 13.