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Jets Host Rex and Bills In Crucial Division Matchup

Todd Bowles (AP Photo)

Todd Bowles (AP Photo)


With the Jets sitting in second place in the AFC East with a 5-3 record, they will host the third place, 4-4 Buffalo Bills in a crucial divisional game on Thursday Night Football.

And if that story line isn’t big enough, former Jets head coach, Rex Ryan, is making his return to Metlife Stadium. Ryan has spent the last few days doing nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to making headlines. In a classic Rex move, he named IK Enemkpali as one of the coin toss captains for Thursday’s game. Enemkpali was cut by the Jets during the preseason after punching Geno Smith in the mouth and breaking his jaw.

So there are definitely a plethora of story lines coming into this game. But aside from all the off the field shenanigans revolving around Rex Ryan, there is a game to be played on Thursday night that has important implications on it. And for the Jets to come away with a victory, here is what they have to do.

  1. Pass First – For the entire season, I’ve been saying how the Jets have to be a run first offense. And that worked for the first handful of games since Chris Ivory looked like one of the best running backs in the NFL. But Ivory has been a shell of himself in the past few weeks and it is obviously hurting the Jets offense. The Bills have the 24th best passing defense to go along with the 6th best rushing defense so teams have had a lot of success this season with passing the ball against the Bills. So Ryan Fitzpatrick, who might have surgery on his left thumb on Friday, will have to step up in this game and use Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall efficiently. And if the Jets are able to pass the ball well, then hopefully that will open up the run game for Chris Ivory.
  2. Stopping the Run – The Bills are one of the best teams in the NFL when it comes to rushing the football. As a team, they average 141.6 rushing yards per game only behind the Carolina Panthers. And there are two running backs to be careful of and those two are LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams as they both average over 65 rushing yards per game. But running the football against the Jets defense is never an easy task since they have the number one rushing defense in the NFL only allowing 80.6 rushing yards per game.
  3. Play with Anger – Thursday night’s game may be week 10 to all of us, but to Rex Ryan it’s an early Super Bowl. Rex clearly wants to win this one badly and he clearly wants to send a message to the Jets by not only beating them, but by pounding them. If this had been any other game, IK Enemkpali would not be a captain. Rex is clearly trying to get into the heads of the Jets. And by feeling confident and pretending that this game is the Super Bowl, odds are his players are going to be ready to go for this game. But the Jets have to fire back. There are a lot of players on the Jets that have played under Rex in some capacity and hopefully those players want to stick it to Rex as badly as Rex wants to stick it to the Jets. Emotions should be running high.

My prediction: These two teams are pretty close when it comes to talent. I can’t imagine that this game will be blowout either way. But I think that the Jets are at a disadvantage because they have suffered a lot of injuries recently and the short week absolutely does not help. Bills win 23-20.

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