By Ryan Alfieri, Editor
With the Bills having made drastic improvements to the defensive side of the ball and the Jets turning in one of the wors offensive preseasons in recent memory, this looks like a lopsided edge in the Bills’ favor.
However, it is often overlooked that the Jets were playing without several offensive starters during the preseason, and Mark Sanchez looked very solid in limited action. This is not to say that the Jets will go about scoring at will, but if they execute correctly, they can move the ball on the Bills’ new-look defense.
Blocking the Bills Front: One of the biggest things to watch in this game will be how the Jets decide to go about handling Mario Williams, who had his way with the Jets when he was with the Texans back in 2010.
In practice, the Jets are using a unique (and smart) approach to prepare for William’s rare speed:
Rex Ryan: #Jets plan to have Aaron Maybin line up offsides to simulate Mario Williams’ speed during practice.
— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) September 5, 2012
Look for the Jets to also use Jason Smith as an extra blocker to help out the young Austin Howard. Howard may have won the starting right tackle job in the preseason, but he has not faced a player of Williams’ caliber.
It should also be noted that D’Brickashaw Ferguson has not yet returned to his Pro Bowl-form this year. He quietly struggled last year, but most threw his struggles up to overall chaos along the line last year.
Attacking the young corners: The Bills may have spent valuable draft resources at the positon, including their 2012 first-round pick on Stephon Gilmore, but both Gilmore and second-year player Aaron Williams are inexperienced corners.
Santonio Holmes should be able to have some success against the two players (after all, that’s why he is making tens of millions of dollars), but Hill’s production is almost impossible to predict. Hill has flashed during the preseason, but he has developed a case of the dropsies that has killed multiple drives.
Run, run, and run some more: The worst thing the Jets can do in this game is to abandon the run game, which will not only set the ultra-talented Bills line loose on Mark Sanchez, but ball-hawks Jarius Byrd and George Wilson will feast on Sanchez’s inaccuracy.
The Bills’ defense gave up a ton of yards last year, but they forced a lot of interceptions, especially early in the season. With a brand-new defensive line, the Bills’ secondary is only going to get more and more opportunities.
Meanwhile, the Bills are just average at linebacker, so finding a way to get past Dareus and Williams in the middle of the line will be key to getting big chunks of yards on the ground.
A run (and wildcat!)-heavy gameplan is the best way to get Mark Sanchez under control and throwing efficiently.