After a disappointing loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Buffalo Bills head back to Ralph Wilson Stadium and hope to avenge a Week 3 loss to the New York Jets. Since that game, these two organizations seem to be heading in opposite directions, with the Bills losing five out of the last seven games. The Jets, on the other hand, have gone 3-3 and are currently in the playoff picture.
If the Bills hope to split the season series with the Jets, the pressure is going to be on the defense to get the win. The Bills offense could again struggle with EJ Manuel trying to get comfortable in this offense. It won't be easy for Manuel, considering Robert Woods has already been ruled out and Stevie Johnson could miss this game as well.
In their first matchup, they gave up 27 points and allowed Geno Smith to throw for 331 yards. This Bills defense is not the same from their first matchup, though, with the return of Jairus Byrd and Stephon Gilmore, who missed that game with injuries.
The Jets have been a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type team this season, alternating wins and losses the whole season. One of the reasons for the back and forth is Geno Smith's play. He has been inconsistent from game to game and, in their losses, has looked bad, as you can see from the chart below.
|Game||Completion Pct.||Passing Yards||Touchdowns||Interceptions||Fumbles||Sacks|
In every one of the Jets' losses, he was sacked at least three times and forced into at least two turnovers. This bodes well for the Bills' defense, which has done an excellent of job of getting to the quarterback. However, they were not able to sack Geno Smith in their first matchup. So, this raises the question: What must Buffalo do differently?
The Bengals may have given them the blueprint on how to get to Geno Smith. In their Week 8 matchup, Cincinnati sacked him three times and forced him into two interceptions. On two of those sacks, the Bengals called an overload blitz, using safety Reggie Nelson on the edge.
On the first sack, Reggie Nelson is lined up just outside of the Jets' left tackle. When the ball is snapped, Nelson blitzes but is pushed wide by Chris Ivory, forcing Geno Smith up into the pocket where he was sacked by Geno Atkins.
Later in the same quarter, almost the same play is called, but Reggie Nelson is lined up on the right side. This time, he is missed by the Jets' blockers entirely and ends up getting a clean path to Smith for the sack.
Buffalo and Cincinnati have similar defensive personnel, including strong defensive lines. Buffalo could then use safety Da'Norris Searcy in the same role as Reggie Nelson, blitzing off the edge. This will either allow Searcy to get the sack or force Geno Smith back up into the pocket towards Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus and Mario Williams.
The key to stopping Geno Smith will be to limit his time in the pocket to go through his progressions. If he is given time to stand in the pocket, Geno Smith has the ability to make big plays through the air or on the ground.
Buffalo found this out the hard way as Geno Smith accounted for all three of the Jets touchdowns in Week 3 with one on the ground and two through the air. If Buffalo is able to get to Geno Smith using some kind of overload blitz like the Bengals did, it may be enough to rattle the Jets' offense and put this team in position to get the win.