Sat, 04 Feb 2023

Top 5 storylines to follow for Bills vs. Jets | Week 14

Buffalo Bills
07 Dec 2022, 22:15 GMT+10

Maddy Glab

The Bills are one week into their division gauntlet with one win under their belt and two games remaining. Next up, Week 14 and a second chance at beating the Jets.

Here are 5 things you need to know ahead of Sunday's game.

1. The view from the top

The Bills took care of business on Thursday against the Patriots and were gifted with stress free football on Sunday. That wasn't the only gift they received because by the end of the day the Bills moved up to the No. 1 seed in the AFC and became the leaders in the AFC East. What made all this possible was a Jets loss to the Vikings (27-22), a 49ers victory over the Dolphins (33-17) and a Chiefs loss to the Bengals (27-24).

Talk about a great day to be a Bills fan, right? Buffalo and Kansas City share the same 9-3 record, but the Bills are above them in the AFC thanks to their Week 6 win against KC. The Ravens are third (8-4), the Titans are fourth (7-4), the Bengals are in fifth place (8-4), the Dolphins are in sixth (8-4) and the Jets are seventh (7-5). In the AFC East, Buffalo is a game above the Dolphins (8-4), the Jets are in third place (7-5) and the Patriots are in last place (6-6). Now that the Bills are back at the top, they'll need to do their part to stay at the top by winning.

Head coach Sean McDermott said with five games left in the regular season, it's all about increasing the sense of urgency and leaning on their leaders in the locker room.

"It's really the push to the end here and see where you're at at the end of it," McDermott said. "This is when teams have to play their best football and continue to come together as a team and do the things that are necessary to win games, and that starts with great fundamentals and taking care of the ball."

2. A new quarterback for the Jets

The Jets have rolled with quarterback Mike White in the last two games and will continue to trust him at the helm for Sunday's game according to Jets head coach Robert Saleh.

This won't be the first time Buffalo plays against White. They faced him in Week 10 last season when the Bills beat the Jets 45-17. White finished the day 24 of 44 (54.5%) for 251 passing yards. The QB threw four interceptions and finished with a 33.4 passer rating.

White has played in six games since coming into the NFL in 2018. In his two starts this season, he has one win over the Bears (31-10) and a loss to the Vikings (27-22). In the last two games, White has averaged 342 passing yards per game, 8 yards per pass attempt, a 62.4% completion percentage, an 89.5 passer rating and has averaged one and a half touchdowns per game.

"It seems like he's playing with a lot of confidence," defensive coordinator Frazier said. "He's thrown for a lot of yards. Had a big game on Sunday from a statistical standpoint. And just seems very confident in what he's doing, and a real good command of the offense and what the coaches are expecting. So, we'll have our hands full trying to contain him and deal with some of the many factors they have in their offense."

It's not just White they'll have to prepare for. Wide receiver Garrett Wilson has been one of White's favorite targets over the last two games. Wilson has 13 catches for 257 receiving yards and two touchdowns the last two weeks, ranking first in the NFL in receiving yards during that span.

3. Learning from Week 9

The last time these two teams faced each other was in Week 9 when the Jets beat the Bills 20-17. The Bills struggled on offense in that game with an interception on the first drive of the game and also the first drive coming out of half. Quarterback Josh Allen finished the day completing 53% of his passes for 205 yards, two rushing touchdowns, two interceptions and a 46.8 passer rating.

The defense was able to force one turnover but didn't win the takeaway battle and allowed 174 rushing yards. Running back Michael Carter was their lead rusher and finished the day with 12 attempts for 76 yards (average 6.3 yards per rush) and a rushing touchdown. Their leading receiver was Garrett Wilson who had eight catches for 92 yards.

While it wasn't a collapse by any means on either side of the ball, the Bills unfortunately didn't do enough to win the game. Ahead of the rematch, the Bills have that first matchup to learn from and believe they have grown since that game.

Offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey shared that even though they've faced the defense once, it'll still be a big challenge.

"I think schematically for them, they do what they do and they do it very well," Dorsey shared. "So we've just got to figure out ways to attack a sound defense that plays fast and create matchups for us, and create ways to move the ball and get in the end zone. So, it's a great challenge for us on offense. They're really good over there. They find ways to create issues for you at all levels of the defense, whether it's the defensive front, the linebackers and then obviously the secondary."

4. How the two matchup

The stats have changed since these teams played each other in Week 9, so here's where the two rank ahead of Sunday.

Offense

Points per game - Bills: 27.75 (3rd), Jets: 21 (18th)

Total yards per game - Bills: 410.8 (2nd), Jets: 339.2 (18th)

Passing yards per game - Bills: 274.5 (3rd), Jets: 224.2 (15th)

Rushing yards per game - Bills: 136.3 (8th), Jets: 115.1 (20th)

Red zone efficiency - Bills: 56.5% (14th), Jets: 48.6% (tied for 26th)

Turnover differential - Bills: 0 (t-17th), Jets: 0 (t-17th)

Defense

Points allowed per game - Bills: 17.42 (4th), Jets: 18.58 (6th)

Total yards allowed per game - Bills: 320.2 (10th), Jets: 307 (4th)

Passing yards allowed per game - Bills: Jets: 218.3 (17th), 194.3 (6th)

Rushing yards allowed per game - Bills: 101.8 (5th), Jets: 112.7 (12th)

Opponent red zone efficiency - Bills: 47.2% (3rd), Jets: 56.3% (19th)

Takeaways - Bills: 20 (t-4th), Jets: 15 (t-12th)

5. Feeling fresh

After having three road games in 12 games, the Bills were thrilled to get a mini bye week and a couple days of rest. It was the perfect break before the Bills lock in for their final five weeks of the regular season. Offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey said it's important they go into this week with momentum.

"I think any time you can get a little time off and let guys recharge a little bit, hopefully get back healthy, get a lot of treatment in, do all that stuff, I think it can be beneficial," Dorsey said. "I think the biggest key is just re-finding your momentum and getting back going after a win and figure out ways to kind of keep that momentum going."

Buffalo also doesn't have to worry about traveling for the next two weeks thanks to back-to-back home games, which feels like a gift after spending almost a month on the road. Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said he's ready to be back with Bills Mafia.

"I think you're always excited to get a chance to play in front of your home fans, and even moreso after what we've experienced over the last three weeks," Frazier shared. "I think we're all looking forward to being in front of our fans and hearing them cheering for us. But there's a lot of excitement about playing at home."

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