WHEN THE BILLS HAVE THE BALL
Ryan Fitzpatrick needs two touchdown passes to join Hall of Famer Jim Kelly (237), Joe Ferguson (181), Jack Kemp (77) and Drew Bledsoe (55) as the fifth Bills quarterback with 50 career scoring passes. Spiller has seven carries for 21 yards in three career games against the Jets, while catching one pass for seven yards. Johnson had 84 receiving yards in Buffalo’s loss to the Jets, while backup quarterback/kick returner Brad Smith spent five seasons with the Jets from 2006-10 before joining the Bills in the offseason. Tight end Scott Chandler had a career-best 71 receiving yards in last week’s defeat.
For the Jets’ defense, linebacker Calvin Pace had a sack and a forced fumble against the Broncos in Week 10, while inside linebacker David Harris had an interception the team’s earlier win over the Bills. Cornerback Darrelle Revis has four career interceptions against Buffalo and safety Eric Smith leads the team with 57 tackles. Rookie end Muhammad Wilkerson has 27 tackles and a sack.
Statistically speaking, the Bills are 10th in scoring offense (23.7 ppg), 14th in total yards (346.4 ypg), 18th in passing (220.8 ypg) and eighth in rushing (125.6 ypg). On defense, the Jets are 18th in points allowed (21.7 ppg), seventh in total yards allowed (317.0 ypg), sixth against the pass (200.1 ypg) and 17th against the run (116.9 ypg).
WHEN THE JETS HAVE THE BALL
Sanchez needs three touchdown passes to tie his career-high of 17 set in 2010 and aims for a 25th regular-season win as a starter, having compiled a 24-17 record over his three years. In his past two games against the Bills, running back Shonn Greene is averaging 96.5 rushing yards per game. For his career against the Bills, running back LaDainian Tomlinson averages 89 rushing yards per game, while backfield mate Joe McKnight totaled a season-best 121 scrimmage yards (59 rushing, 62 receiving) in the Denver loss. McKnight leads the NFL with a 36.1-yard kick return average this season as well. Wide receiver Santonio Holmes aims for a third consecutive game with a touchdown catch against the Bills and counterpart Plaxico Burress is averaging 15.2 yards per catch in his past three November games, gaining 182 yards on 12 receptions over that span.
The Bills’ defense is tied with New England for the AFC lead with 15 interceptions, and safety Jairus Byrd has four interceptions in five career games against the Jets. Linebacker Nick Barnett leads the team with 78 tackles and rookie safety Da’Norris Searcy, a fourth-round pick in the 2011 draft, led the team with 11 tackles in his first career start last week. Rookie end Marcell Dareus has 28 tackles and 3 1/2 sacks in his debut season.
By the numbers, the Jets are the 17th in scoring (22.8 ppg), 22nd in total yards (314.5 ypg), 20th in passing (217.9 ypg) and 26th in rushing (96.6 ypg). Buffalo on defense is 26th in points allowed (25.3 ppg) and total yards allowed (372.4 ypg), 24th against the pass (250.0 ypg) and 20th against the run (122.4 ypg).
KEYS TO THE GAME
New York’s Greene had 19 carries for 76 yards in his last game against the Bills and is probable after leaving the Denver loss with injured ribs. His impact is important to the Jets’ chances.
Fitzpatrick has been slumping since signing his $59 million contract extension and will need to regain his early-season magic to get the Bills back in the playoff race.
A disappointment since his early selection last season, Spiller gets a six-week chance to reinvent himself to the Bills and their fans. The running game was important to Buffalo’s early-season success, and the team needs the youngster to be at least a capable fill-in for Jackson.
Prediction – The Bills have gone from a team poised to make a serious AFC run to one that now looks like they can’t get out of their own way. They have been beat up on all sides of the ball the past few weeks, and now they play a Jets team not happy about their recent loss to the Broncos. Look for the Jets defense to stop Ryan Fitzpatrick, and the Jets to stop their two-game losing streak and get to 6-5. New York Jets 23 Buffalo 14