When the Buffalo Bills hired Rex Ryan, their yearly meetings with the New York Jets took on a bigger meaning.
If that wasn’t already obvious, Rex showed that this week with his press conference trash-talking and theatrics that have made the Bills’ Week 10 matchup against the Jets on Thursday Night Football the main event of the week.
The storylines are endless for this game. Ryan named IK Enmkpali a captain for this game just months after he broke Jets quarterback Geno Smith’s jaw in the Jets’ locker room. Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and offensive coordinator Chan Gailey both spent time in Buffalo. Oh, and by the way, the winner of this game will have control of the final playoff spot in the AFC.
That should be enough intrigue to get some eyeballs on this game.
Know the enemy
The Jets have been one of the most surprising teams in the AFC, and the offense is a big reason why. Veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was thrown into the lineup and has made the most of the talented wide receivers at his disposal. Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker have combined for 11 touchdowns. Meanwhile, running back Chris Ivory got off to a hot start but has cooled recently. The thing to watch with this offense is whether center Nick Mangold will be able to play. If he isn’t healthy, the Bills’ defensive line could have an easy time getting into the backfield.
On defense, the Jets have taken a big step forward in 2015. The front seven is among the best in football, and New York is leading the league in rushing defense. Darrelle Revis’ return has also helped the secondary bounce back in a big way. This may be the toughest test Buffalo’s offense has had all season long.
What the Jets are saying
While much of the build up to the Bills-Jets game has been about Rex Ryan’s return to New York, Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is also getting set to face his former team.
“Anytime you play against a team that told you you’re not good enough, that carries some extra weight,” Fitzpatrick said. “So this one will definitely carry extra weight for me. But that being said, the farther we’re removed from that, the more the faces have changed. I don’t know as many guys on the team anymore. There’s a lot of different things that have changed, even in the last year.”
What the Bills are saying
While Rex Ryan avoided discussing most things about the Jets, he’s adamant that his time in New York didn’t change him.
“I lost my swagger when I was losing a lot of games I guess,” Ryan said. “… But I never lost who I was. You know, privately or anything else, that’s not the case. I never lost my competitiveness or anything like that. I got beat down a little bit when you’re not having the success that you would like to have. But I’m the same person from 20 years ago that I am now, I think.”
Home teams generally have the upper hand on Thursday Night Football, and that should be the case for the Jets this week. Still, Rex Ryan has been getting ready for this matchup for a while, whether he admits it or not. He knows that team well, and he will have his team fired up. This is a tough game to call because the Bills haven’t been able to put together back-to-back wins all season. In a close game the Jets get the honors.
Pick: Bills 2o Jets 27
|New York Jets|
-2.5 @ 1.91