Jets vs. Bills: 3 things to watch

Bilal Powell may be more important than ever with the questions surrounding the backfield. Credit: Getty Images
Bilal Powell and the Jets take on a Bills team they went 1-1 against last season.
Credit: Getty Images

The supposed worst team in football has a legitimate shot at going 2-1 this week, when the Jets host the Bills on Sunday afternoon. If the Jets are going to avoid being a bottom-feeder, they need to win games like this one.

The Jets are getting healthy this week, with defensive end/linebacker Quinton Coples and defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson both practicing and wide receiver Jeremy Kerley back from his concussion. They face a Bills team coming off their own high, with rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel having orchestrated a late-game touchdown drive against the Panthers last week in a 24-23 win.

This is also a pivotal week for both teams, who each enter the game 0-1 in the division. Both the Bills and Jets will be looking to avoid the basement of the AFC East.

Three things to watch for …

1. Super Mario

Bills defensive end Mario Williams set a franchise record with 4 1/2 sacks last week against the Panthers, a dominant performance for one of the game’s best edge rushers when he’s on. The Panthers had no answers for Williams, who was constantly in the backfield and wrapping his arms around the hips of Cam Newton.

“The fact that God touched this guy, like gave him unbelievable gifts – he’s got the height, the size, the length, the arms, the speed – that’s kind of what jumps out,” Jets head coach Rex Ryan. “And he plays hard, he’s smart. He’s also got Kyle Williams inside. I think Kyle Williams is one of the most underrated guys in the league [and] has been for a long time. He creates a lot of stuff and creates some one-on-one opportunities for Mario as well.”

There is good news as Williams had zero sacks and just four tackles in two games against the Jets last year.

2. Geno’s bounce back

It has been an uneven first two games of Geno Smith’s NFL career as the quarterback. Last Thursday at the Patriots, Smith showed more of the downside, with three interceptions in the fourth quarter – all decisions that could have been avoided and cost the Jets a chance at a statement win.

“When I look at him now, I see a player that is developing,” Bills head coach Doug Marrone said.

Marrone is familiar with Smith from his time at Syracuse when Smith was the quarterback at West Virginia and both programs were in the now-defunct Big East. The two faced each other last December in the Pinstripe Bowl, a game where Smith struggled as he went 16-of-24 passes for 187 yards with two touchdowns. The Syracuse defense frustrated and limited Smith after a record-setting senior season.

3. The Jets’ rush

The sample size is small, but through two games the Jets already have mustered nine sacks, tied for third in the league. But they go up against a Bills offensive line that has been very stout, allowing just one sack and owning the fourth-best rushing offense. The Jets will be bolstered by the additions of Coples and Wilkerson, who had a second half injury at the Patriots.

“You always take pride in it and as an O-line that’s about all you can judge yourself on as opposed to just your personal and coach’s evaluation of you individual play,” Bills center Eric Wood said. “But as a unit, we’ve done some things well.”

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…