Every week, I write an opinion column on a few general game-planning tactics I like for the Buffalo Bills to use against their upcoming opponent—ones I think have a chance to be successful based on personnel usage and scheme along with the strengths and weaknesses of each team. These may take many forms, though I typically try to come up with at least one tactic on offense and one on defense.
The Bills face off against the New York Jets for the second time already this season. What can Buffalo do to prevent handing a winless team their first beacon of hope for 2020? I have some thoughts...
Maybe the QB run game won’t be necessary
In Week 1, I approved of the QB-centric running game implemented by the Bills. Josh Allen was credit with 14 carries (two were kneel downs) and he was the most effective rusher as the Jets managed to plug up the Bills’ running backs all day. With the trade of defensive lineman Steve McLendon, the Jets could be a very different team against the run than they were the last time these two teams met. While I would never advocate pounding my head against a wall if the running game isn’t working, I would be more apt to test the middle of the Jets’ defense this week than I was Week 1.
Getting back to Super Josh means dealing with the pressure
The Chiefs brought pressure against Josh Allen, but made sure his outlets and answers were shorter passes rather than the intermediate and deep passes where he had made his living over the first four weeks of the season. He was inaccurate short, but I wouldn’t anticipate Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams copying that script. This is a man who believes in bringing pressure and playing man coverage and that’s likely what he will continue to do. Having Josh Allen prepped to know where his answers are against pressure and Allen hitting those throws will be one of the keys to the game. The screen game would serve him well here along with Cole Beasley being utilized earlier in the game than he has been over the last two weeks.
No Bell, no problem
the Jets’ offense will run through Sam Darnold (if healthy) and Jamison Crowder (again, if healthy). The release of former starting running back Le’Veon Bell means there’s one less offensive weapon for the Bills’ defense to handle. Taron Johnson will have an opportunity to show up after lackluster performances thus far in 2020, but double covering Crowder, especially on third downs, is now more on the table than it ever has been with the dangerous receiving weapon that Bell is out the door. The Bills have to take advantage of one less option for the Jets to clamp down on their remaining threats.
...and that’s the way the cookie crumbles. I’m Bruce Nolan with Buffalo Rumblings. You can find me on Twitter @BruceExclusive and look for new episodes of “The Bruce Exclusive” every Thursday and Friday on the Buffalo Rumblings podcast network!