By Abraham Gutierrez
After sweeping the season series against the Miami Dolphins, the (4-4) Buffalo Bills look to make it three straight divisional victories when they travel to the Meadowlands for a Thursday night showdown with the (5-3) New York Jets. MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, will be the site for the opening game on the NFL Week 10 slate, as bitter rivals collide in a pivotal AFC East clash. Opening kickoff is scheduled for 8:25 p.m. ET and it will be broadcast live on NFL Network. Todd Bowles' Jets start Week 10 sitting in second place in the division, while Rex Ryan and the Bills' record is good enough for third place in the AFC East.
Buffalo Bills 2015 Record
After alternating wins and losses through the first five weeks of the season, Buffalo hit a rough patch, dropping consecutive decisions to the Cincinnati Bengals (21-34) and Jacksonville Jaguars (34-31) in London. Following a much-needed bye week, Ryan & Co. regrouped as they welcomed the reeling Dolphins to Ralph Wilson Stadium in Week 9.
With no Cameron Wake to speak of for the visiting club, the Dolphins defense (or lack thereof) allowed the Bills' running backs to roam free all afternoon long. Torching Miami's "D" to the tune of 266 rushing yards, Buffalo snapped its two-game skid with an emphatic 33-17 win over the hated Dolphins in Orchard Park, improving its divisional record to 2-1 on the year.
Bills On Offense
In his first season as Bills' offensive coordinator, Greg Roman's squad enters Week 10 doing well against the rush and in points allowed. With eight games in the books, the Bills rank second in the league in rushing, averaging 141.6 rushing yards per game. As far as points are concerned, this team doesn't have much problem putting up crooked numbers, as it averages 26.1 points per game, which is good enough for eighth place in the National Football League.
The two major areas for concern, however, can be found in the passing game; which in turn, also has an affect on the total yards per game category. In passing, the Bills rank a disappointing 29th in the NFL averaging 208.9 yards through the air. Thus, it comes as no surprise that the Bills are among the worst teams in total yards, as they come in averaging 350.5 total yards per contest for 20th place in the NFL Week 10 rankings.
Bills On Defense
Defensively is where this team hangs its hat, but that doesn't mean the Bills are bulletproof. In fact, defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman will have to find a way to keep New York's points and yards down heading into this crucial game against the Jets. Prior to the start of Week 10, Buffalo's defense ranks 24th in the league in passing yards per game allowed. It's hard to believe that even after containing Miami's offense in Week 9, the Bills are still surrendering 259.9 yards through the air.
The other defensive areas of concern for this ball club are in the point per game and total yards categories where the Bills rank 16th in both. In terms of points Ryan's club allows an average of 23.3 points per game. In terms of yards, Buffalo yields 353.5 per contest. As far as rushing goes, Chris Ivory might be in for a stressful afternoon as the Bills are currently sixth in the NFL at defending the rush. Yielding just 93.6 rushing yards per game, the Bills' run-defense is among the best in the NFL whether they are at home or on the road.
Bills Players To Watch
As stated above, the Bills offense is coming off its most productive game of the season; particularly on the ground where they tallied a season-high 266 rushing yards. As a result, the two offensive players to watch this week against the Jets are the stars of last week's shellacking over the Fins in (first and second string) running backs LeSean McCoy (416 yards on 94 carries and 2 touchdowns) and Karlos Williams (336 yards on 5 carries and 5 touchdowns); who both eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark on Sunday.
On the opposite side of the football, the Jets will have to account for another two-headed monster. Tied for team honors in the sacks department with three a piece, Bowles offensive gameplan must revolve around containing Bills defensive ends, Jerry Hughes (24 tackles, 2 forced fumbles) and Mario Williams (14 tackles).
Bills vs. Jets Odds
Given the way that most divisional games in the NFL play out, it should come as no surprise that NFL oddsmakers expect this Week 10 encounter to come down to the wire. This is evident by the fact that only a field goal separates these teams in the point-spread department, with the edge given to the home team.
As of Tuesday morning, the New York Jets [-3] are listed as three point favorites to defeat a Buffalo Bills [+3] squad that will enjoy an ATS cushion of a field goal on the road. And finally, the OVER/UNDER is set at a combined total of 43½ points in this one.
Abe Gutierrez's (Twitter: @GutierrezAbe) passion led him to ditch law school journey in order to launch his own publishing company. His expertise make him a valued addition to Examiner.com, AXS.com and the CBS-Sports family. Some of his work can be found on CBS-Miami (Dolphins), CBS-LosAngeles (Chargers), CBS-BayArea (Raiders), CBS-NewYork (NY Jets), CBS-TampaBay (Buccaneers), AXS.com, Examiner.com and other online publications.
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