5 Reasons New York Jets Fans Should Be Confident vs. Buffalo Bills
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While the Jets offense has struggled in the preseason, scoring 31 points while the team went winless, the Bills didn't exactly light up the scoreboard either. Buffalo scored just 59 points (32 coming in their final preseason game against the Lions third and fourth stringers), while also going without a win this preseason.
Despite their team's lack of preseason success, Bills fans are absolutely giddy about their chances this season after an offseason spending spree that saw them bring in free-agent DEs Mario Williams and Mark Anderson.
Along with the excitement of Bills fans, many of the "experts" give the Jets very little chance to succeed on Sunday. On CBSSportsline.com, seven of the eight "experts" have picked the Bills.
According to Bills fans and the "experts", the Jets can save their time and just stay at home on Sunday. Mario Williams already has broken the single-game sack record against the Jets woeful offensive line, Tim Tebow will dress as a circus clown while running the wildcat and Mark Sanchez will be in hysterics on the sideline after Rex Ryan decides to put in said circus clown.
While Rex Ryan thinks this is the best team he has had since joining the Jets in 2009, most rational people need to be convinced that Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow and the rest of the Jets offense can consistently execute on offense.
Before Bills fans chalk this one up in the win column, here are five reasons why Jets fans should be confident heading into Sunday.
5. Mario Williams
Mario Williams was unable to put the game away with a sack when the Texans needed one to beat the Jets in November 2010.
Mario Williams will be playing in his third game against the Jets when he takes the field on Sunday.
In his two previous appearances, as a member of the Houston Texans he totaled just two sacks (both coming in his last game against New York).
What most Texans fans remember was the Jets final drive of the game.
Trailing 27-23, the Jets and Mark Sanchez took over on their 28-yard line with :49 left. Sanchez then drove the Jets 72 yards for the game-winning TD as Mario Williams was nowhere to be found.
Before Bills fans point out that the Jets had a much better offensive line in 2010, starting RT Damien Woody had left the game with an injury and the recently dismissed Wayne Hunter did not allow Williams near Sanchez.
While one drive does not make a player or dismiss his effectiveness, Williams has already been handed countless sacks on Sunday by Bills fans and "experts" around the league.
How desperately do the Bills need consistent pressure from Williams? The Bills pass rush sacked or put opposing quarterbacks under duress on just 16.5 percent of their dropbacks last season, the worst rate in the NFL.
4. Fred Jackson
The Jets have bottled up Fred Jackson in his six career games against them.
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While Fred Jackson has enjoyed some success in his NFL career, he has not enjoyed much against the Jets.
In his six career games against the Jets, Jackson has averaged just 3.5 YPC and 33.5 yards per game while running for just one TD.
3. Ryan Fitzpatrick
Ryan Fitzpatrick is just 1-5 as a starter in his career vs. the Jets.
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Bills fans have come to have a love/hate relationship with Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick led the Bills to a 5-2 start last season while throwing 248 yards per game and 14 TDs. But in his final nine games, Fitzpatrick was awful, throwing 16 INT and just 233.0 YPG as the Bills went 1-8.
He has not done so well against the Jets in his career, going 1-5 as a starter with a completion percentage of 51.7 and a QB rating of 71.1. He has also averaged just 158.2 passing yards per game against New York.
To be totally fair to Fitzpatrick, he did throw three TDs against the Jets in their last game in November 2011 at MetLife Stadium. However, he also failed to lead them to a game-winning TD on the Bills' final drive.
2. Mark Sanchez
Mark Sanchez has pointed the Jets to victories in every game against Buffalo since losing his debut against them in 2009.
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Before you start laughing, look at the numbers.
In his first start against Buffalo, Sanchez single-handedly lost game for the Jets, throwing five picks in the Bills 16-13 overtime win.
However, since then Sanchez has been magnificent against the Bills, leading the Jets to four wins (he did not play in the Jets 38-7 blowout of the Bills in the 2010 season finale).
Here are Sanchez's numbers in his last four games against the Bills.
Comp Pct.: 56.9
QB Rating: 95.0
Pass YPG: 168.0
Maybe these numbers don't scream Tom Brady, but they are very good for Sanchez. He also led the Jets down the field for the game-winning TD in their last meeting to cap a career-high four-TD performance.
1. Recent History
Santonio Holmes hopes the Jets can continue the success that has seen them win seven of their last eight matchups against the Bills.
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Going back to 2008, the Jets have won five straight against Buffalo and are 7-1 overall against the Bills—their only loss an OT defeat in which Mark Sanchez threw five INTs.
The average score of those eight contests were Jets 28-Bills 16.
I understand the past is the past and it doesn't mean any more than that, but until the Bills come into MetLife Stadium and beat the Jets, the Jets deserve more respect than they have received this week.
Yes, everyone loves the Bills to be a sleeper team in the AFC.
Yes, Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow and the Jets are a joke on offense.
Yes, Jets QB will be seeing Mario Williams in their sleep. Yes, Mario Williams is the second coming of Deacon Jones.
If the "experts" and Bills fans are correct, then the Bills will have rightly deserved their constant praise this week, but games are not won in the opinion column or on a team's fan boards.
While I expect the Bills to do well in the AFC East this season (see this post), this will be a much tougher game for them than people think.