(Long Island, NY) 0-2 is not a death sentence, even in the competitive short regular season that is the NFL. Although the Jets dropped their first two games to quality opponents, they have an opportunity to get even with a win on Sunday in Buffalo after defeating Miami last weekend.
The schedule makers were not kind to Gang Green by having them open up against New England and Baltimore, but seeing the away game at Buffalo anywhere before December may be a little payback. The cold temperatures that usually await the Jets later in the season will not be there during the last weekend of September, and it will be even milder than normal with the late surge of a little remaining summer.
The Jets may be catching the Bills (0-3) at a good time, too. Their starting quarterback, J.P. Losman, suffered a knee injury last week and backup Trent Edwards is scheduled to make his first career start. He was a third-round (92nd overall) pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, so look for the Bills to keep the ball on the ground for the majority of the game to alleviate some of the pressure on the young signal caller.
“I’m sure he’s going to be very nervous,” Buffalo head coach Dick Jauron said. “He hasn’t played, hardly at all, in the NFL until last week. He’ll prepare well and we’ll try to play as good as we can play and I know he’ll give us everything he’s got.”
Another rookie, running back Marshawn Lynch, takes over for Jet killer Willis MaGahee, who was traded to Baltimore in the offseason. Lynch, the 12th overall pick in the first round, has been effective in the early going with a 4.0 average and two rushing touchdowns. The Cal product should get a lot of touches against a shaky Jet defense.
“He is tough,” said Jet safety Kerry Rhodes. “He doesn’t really go down on first contact. He can make you miss in the backfield. He is quick and he is a tough runner. He is going to be tough for us.”
“He’s a guy that is more and more involved each week and gets better and better each week as he works with the offensive line,” said head coach Eric Mangini. “He’s a very good player that is going to get more dangerous as time goes on as he learns more.”
A week ago, the Jets had all sorts of problems keeping Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown in check. He scored three total touchdowns – two rushing and one receiving – and gained 112 yards on 23 carries and 99 more on six catches. Miami’s much-maligned quarterback Trent Green was coming off a four-interception game the week prior to facing the Jets. The veteran completed 23 of 36 for 318 yards with one touchdown and one pick.
For the Jets to win this game, they will need to contain screen plays, which have been their Achilles heel throughout the season. “They’ve (Buffalo) got a full complement of screens, like most teams,” Mangini said. “It could be the tailback, tight end or wide receiver. There’s a lot of different ways that you can attack it.”
If the Jets want to walk out of the stadium on Sunday afternoon with a 2-2 record, they will have to stop those ways that the Bills will attack it.