For one week only, the New York Jets are playing in prime time.
Despite entering Thursday’s matchup against the visiting Buffalo Bills on a three-game skid, Gang Green can’t be counted out. None of their recent losses was by more than a touchdown, and the Jets (3-5) led in each game. Playing at MetLife Stadium is always a plus too, especially in a division matchup.
And hey, this one can’t be any worse than last Thursday’s 40-0 bloodbath when the Baltimore Ravens stomped the Miami Dolphins.
Here are three keys to the matchup as the Jets aim to end their slide.
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor has led the Bills (5-2) to a surprisingly good start, but he’s done it without standout options in the passing game.
Tight end Charles Clay leads the team in receiving yards, but he’s out this week. Buffalo just traded for Kelvin Benjamin, the former No. 1 wideout on the Carolina Panthers, but it’s unknown how much he will play after Tuesday’s deal.
The Jets’ secondary enters with some uncertainty, too. Although Buster Skrine is expected to play after missing Sunday’s 25-20 loss to the Atlanta Falcons with a concussion, fellow cornerback Morris Claiborne is questionable with a sore left foot.
The most talented player on either offense is Bills running back LeSean McCoy. His 763 yards from scrimmage rank sixth in the NFL alongside other elites.
While Gang Green has kept “Shady” out of the end zone in four matchups since the Bills landed the former Philadelphia Eagles star, the back has twice gained 159 yards from scrimmage. Buffalo won both games, but the Jets were victorious the other two times while holding McCoy to less than 100 yards.
It’s not rocket science. If the Jets bottle up McCoy, they’ve got a great chance to win.
Return of the Mac
Jets quarterback Josh McCown bounced back from a deflating last-minute interception in the Week 7 loss in Miami, completing 26-of-33 passes for 257 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers.
The timing of perhaps McCown’s best performance as a Jet couldn’t be better, considering his worst game was the 21-12 loss at Buffalo in Week 1. The veteran passer can ride the momentum instead of dwell on his two-INT stinker of a Jets debut.