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Jets at Bills: The Key Match-Ups

The following is an article written by Real Football Services. They are a frequent contributor on

These two teams share one thing in common, a loss to the Patriots. However, both are 1-1 and a win here could give them an opportunity to at least keep pace in the AFC East. While the Bills are still finding their way on offense, their defense exploded last week with seven sacks, five in the first 15 plays. The Jets Chad Pennington will have to keep them at bay with his ball-control passing game that relies on his ability to spread the ball to multiple receivers with high percentage passes. Without a formidable rushing attack in place, the pressure will be on an O-line that starts two rookies. If they can minimize the pass rush, and if the defense can shut down Willis McGahee's perimeter running game, they have a chance to break their three-year losing streak in Orchard Park.

Match up 1
WR Lee Evans (5'10", 197 lbs) vs. DC Andre Dyson (5'10", 183 lbs). Evans has the speed to separate vertically and can throttle down quickly to sit between defenders in zone coverage. Dyson had two interceptions on opening day, showing a burst to adjust when the ball is in the air. New England used their best cornerback to shadow Evans in Week One, resulting in only two receptions. Don't be surprised if the Jets defense follows the Patriots' example to neutralize Buffalo's primary threat.

Match up 2
HB Willis McGahee (6'0", 228 lbs) vs. LB Bryan Thomas (6'4", 266 lbs). To be successful against the 3-4 scheme, an offense needs to control the edge with the running game. McGahee, who was more consistent last week against Miami, runs tall but with power and can shake off arm tackles. Thomas uses his arms well to gain separation but at times will attempt to go around blockers as he is still adjusting to the move from defensive end to linebacker.

Match up 3
TE Chris Baker (6'3", 258 lbs) vs. LB London Fletcher (5'10", 245 lbs.). Baker may not be the threat that New England's Ben Watson or Miami's Randy McMichael presented the Bills in their first two games, but he is beginning to emerge as more than just a blocker. In the Tampa Two defense that Buffalo uses, Fletcher is called upon to make deep drops, leaving the underneath crossing routes open for Baker to exploit. The Bills do not jam the tight end at the line of scrimmage, so expect Baker to play a key role in keeping the chains moving.

Things to Look For:

Willis McGahee:Has three 100-yard rushing games in four meetings with the Jets…totaled 256 rushing yards and one TD in two games against the Jets during the 2005 season…has a 4.75 career rushing average against the Jets…Bills are 11-3 when McGahee rushes for at least 90 yards.

Laveranues Coles:Has averaged 15.5 yards per reception as a Jet in six games against the Bills…his only receiving TD against the Bills came in 2002 on a pass from Chad Pennington…it was the only game the two players have started together against Buffalo.

Chad Pennington:Pennington has a 2-2 record as a starter against the Bills, but has never won in Buffalo…he has a career 60.3 completion percentage in four games against Buffalo…This will be Pennington's first action at Ralph Wilson Stadium since he suffered a shoulder injury there on November 7, 2004…he currently ranks 3rd in the NFL in passing yards and 4th in passer rating.

Kevan Barlow: In one career start vs. Buffalo, Barlow was 15-72 rushing with 1 TD for a 4.8 yard average per carry.

Jerricho Cotchery:Prior to last week's 71-yard TD, Cotchery's career long reception was a 45-yard catch and run against the Bills in last season's season finale at the Meadowlands.

Justin Miller: Had a career-long 95-yard kickoff return touchdown against the Bills in the season finale last year.

Teams:The Jets have won five of the last eight meetings between these teams, but haven't won at Ralph Wilson Stadium in three years…J.P. Losman has led the Bills on game opening scoring drives in six of his ten starts…the Bills offense has scored on their first drive in 12 of the last 18 games.

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