This past off-season, Rex Ryan went from being the Head Coach of the New York Jets, to staying in the AFC East and becoming the Head Coach of the Buffalo Bills. In what is somewhat of a strange situation, he was fired in New York by the Jets owner, Woody Johnson, he came to Buffalo to play against his former team twice a year.
But going back to the home stadium, where he used to spend eight games a year at during the regular season, will be particularly important for Rex. He will have his team firing on all cylinders as they prepare to take down his former team and his replacement as the Jets Head Coach, Todd Bowles.
Part of the reason the Bills should have good success is because everyone on the injury report except for defensive tackle Kyle Williams was able to at least get in a limited practice on Wednesday. LeSean McCoy, Sammy Watkins, and Tyrod Taylor are all back and healthy and ready to get their season back on track as they will be fighting these same Jets for a Wild Card spot at best as the New England Patriots have jumped out in front of the division.
Meanwhile the Jets are pretty banged up across the board. They are down two safeties in Dion Bailey and Calvin Pryor both listed as out for the short week game. They also have a man out on the interior of the offensive line in Willie Colon. But they have Ryan Fitzpatrick back and they trust the Amish Rifle going up against his former team in the Bills.
Matchup To Watch
Second year wide receiver Sammy Watkins is going to have a tough assignment this week. They are going to ask him to get open against arguably the best defensive back in the entire league in Darrelle Revis. Nobody is saying that Watkins will get shutout on Revis Island, but it is a matchup that the Bills would love to see Watkins at least find a way to take advantage of a couple of times during the game.
Playing Their Former Team
Previously, yours truly mentioned that Ryan Fitzpatrick is going up against his old team, but there is clearly a more interesting former matchup in the works here as well. That would be when IK Enemkpali captains the team against his former team in the Jets. But he was even just on the Jets back during the preseason, and is probably best known for breaking Geno Smith's jaw and then signing with a division rival. But the linebacker for the Bills has been pulled off the practice squad after his suspension was up and had a few tackles in last week's victory over the Miami Dolphins.
If there is one man the Bills defense is going to be focused on stopping on Thursday night, it has got to be their star running back in Chris Ivory. Every game this season he has at least 20 carries or has scored a touchdown the Jets have yet to be beaten. So, to stop the Jets offense, you simply need to stop Ivory and the running game.
This game is going to be a physical and blue collar type of game. Both teams know that they don't want to give up any space in the tight wild card race. Despite the Bills being on the road, this writer sees them as a better team from top to bottom when their quarterback play is well enough through Taylor. Yours truly is prediction a low scoring contest with the Bills getting the win by a final score of 20-10.