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Bills/Jets: Four Key Matchups

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Buffalo Bills (5-2) vs New York Jets (4-3)
Sunday, November 2 - 1:00 PM EST

In what has consistently been the most heated of all AFC East battles over the last few years, the 5-2 Buffalo Bills are set to host the 4-3 New York Jets this weekend in a renewed division rivalry.  Despite the fact that the Bills swept the Jets last season, this rivalry has been relatively even during the Tom Brady Era of the AFC East.  These two teams are now in the thick of the tightest division race in recent memory, heightening the importance of this game.

John Butchko of Gang Green Nation and I have singled out four key matchups for this game; rather than both provide break-downs of each matchup, we each took two and left the rivalry out of it.  We're saving the rivalry for game day; Buffalo needs to play with a bit more emotion than they did last weekend.  Here are the matchups, with each of our break-downs:

MATCHUP ONE: Jets CB Darrelle Revis vs. Bills WR Lee Evans
Butchko: The Jets have a pretty thin secondary. Aside from Revis, only Dwight Lowery might be capable of going one on one consistently with any kind of success against even an average receiver. This means Revis will probably be left on an island a lot with Evans. A vertical threat like Evans does give me cause for concern because Darrelle has been beaten deep a few times this season. Fortunately for the Jets, the opposition typically has not had the quarterback to exploit it. Trent Edwards will.  On a personal note, this matchup will serve as one of the agonies of playing fantasy football as Evans is on my team.  Advantage: Bills

MATCHUP TWO: Bills OT Jason Peters vs. Jets LB Calvin Pace
Galliford: I like Peters in this one.  Jason has been playing well, and although he hasn't reached his Pro Bowl level of 2007, he's probably also gotten a bad rap for giving up some plays in key situations.  I'd like to see Peters play a little harder and through the whistle - if he does that, he'll be one of the best at his position for a very long time.  Pace isn't an overwhelmingly athletic player, so if he picks up sacks, it'll be because Edwards is holding the ball too long.  Pace is a very good player, but he's the type of player that Peters has handled in the past.  Advantage: Bills

MATCHUP THREE: Jets NT Kris Jenkins vs. Bills C Duke Preston
Butchko: It is only fitting we look at this matchup, considering the wars Kevin Mawae and Ted Washington had for years in this rivalry. While the media fawned over the addition of Brett Favre, Jenkins was probably the biggest move the Jets made in the offseason. Teams have struggled to run against the Jets this year because Jenkins has been an immovable object in the middle of the line. He has gained penetration
constantly and kept his linebackers clean. The best nose tackles occupy two gaps. There have been times this season when Jenkins has occupied three gaps worth of blockers. With all of the attention he has drawn, it has benefited other players like Shaun Ellis, who has seen more one on one matchups and is putting together his best season since2003. Preston will have his hands full.  Advantage: Jets

MATCHUP FOUR: Bills ST kick coverage vs. Jets KR Leon Washington
Galliford: The Bills won't give Washington many opportunities to touch the ball on kicking teams.  Rian Lindell has mastered the "pooch kickoff", in which he pops a kick high into the air and an up man is forced to fair catch it at about the 30 yard line.  The Bills feel comfortable sacrificing field position to make the offense work for scores; unless the Jets get creative and move Washington around to fool the Bills, I doubt he gets more than one or two chances to return kicks.  Advantage: Push