Buffalo’s strong start to the season got even better in Week 8 when they dismantled the Oakland Raiders to the tune of a 34-14 victory. Buffalo were actually behind until midway through the second quarter, when Andre Holmes snagged a six-yard pass from Tyrod Taylor to tie things up. A Matt Milano fumble return gave Buffalo a half-time lead, and then they extended it with Stephen Hauschka field goals and a touchdown a piece from Taylor and LeSean McCoy.
The Jets lost a tight affair with Atlanta in wet, back-and-forth game at MetLife Stadium. New York took the lead on the opening drive with a 20-yard pass from Josh McCown to Eric Tomlinson, but the Falcons would tie it up just five minutes later. A Robby Anderson score would give the Jets a 17-13 half-time lead, but they couldn’t hang on in the second half and eventually fell 25-20 thanks to a Mohamed Sanu score and some Matt Bryant field goals.
Moving the ball
It sounds obvious, but both these sides have struggled on offense this year. Buffalo are one of the more inconsistent teams when it comes to moving the ball, and while the Jets are, per Football Outsiders, the most consistent offense in the NFL, they are consistently poor.
Buffalo’s defense has been stingy all year, and New York’s can be a tricky nut to crack. Which ever team is able to consistently move the ball on offense and keep its defense fresh will have a big advantage.
The Bills went out and added Kelvin Benjamin at the trade deadline to add to their thin wide receiver corps. Jordan Matthews currently leads the wide outs with 15 catches and 193 yards, which is nothing seven games into the season (and he’s only played six).
Benjamin comes into Buffalo with 32 catches, 475 yards, and two scores under his belt. He also brings a physical outside threat that the Bills have been missing. How much action he will see tonight, having been a Bill for barely two days by kickoff, remains to be seen, but don’t be surprised if they put him on in the red zone to cause some chaos and give the Jets something to think about.
Buffalo have an NFL-best +14 turnover differential this season thanks to some opportunistic defense and an extremely conscientious offense. Conversely, the Jets have been more than willing to give the ball away, with seven picks and seven fumbles so far this season.
If New York is going to have any chance of winning this one they have to be careful with the football and not give Buffalo even a sniff of a turnover while trying to create one themselves.
Matchup to Watch: Nick O’Leary vs Marcus Maye/Jamal Adams
The Bills love using the tight end, especially once the ground game is going and safeties are having to pay more attention to their run responsibilities. With Charles Clay out these past few weeks Buffalo have simply plugged Nick O’Leary in and continued as if nothing had happened.
With ten catches on 14 targets for 170 yards O’Leary has been an important chain-mover and it will be up to the Jets pair of impressive rookie safeties to ensure he is taken away on Thursday.
Fantasy Tip: Jets TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins
The Bills are pretty good against the tight end, but then they are pretty good against basically everyone and Josh McCown has to go somewhere with the football. Seferian-Jenkins is averaging 5.9 points a game this season and last week against Atlanta broke a three-game touchdown streak. If your tight end is on a bye this week he isn’t a bad replacement option.
Betting Tip: Bills (-3)
Road favorites are always fickle, but the Bills advantages on defense, under center, and at running back are too big to see past in this one. Barring an explosion from Robby Anderson and an untimely injury you have to think that Buffalo can wrap this one up fairly comfortably.
Prediction: Bills 30 – 13 Jets
Buffalo’s defensive performance this season has been remarkable, and I full expect it to continue on a short week. Sean McDermott has been a revelation in northern New York, and against the Jets the belief and confidence will be flowing through this Bills team. It might take 20-plus minutes for the offense to get warmed up, but LeSean McCoy will get his and with the field position likely to be in their favor all day it is going to be a lopsided scoreline by the end of the game.
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