The Jets didn’t lead the league in wins like Rex Ryan wanted, but Sunday’s meaningless game against Buffalo is an opportunity to rest and simulate a first-round bye before the postseason begins. (1 p.m., CBS)
That doesn’t mean the New Meadowlands should be a celebratory atmosphere on Sunday. A win will help the Jets (10-5) carry momentum into the postseason after a 1-3 December. But with the AFC’s sixth seed clinched, Mark Sanchez (shoulder) and Santonio Holmes (hip/toe) should be sidelined to nurse their injuries.
Like any losing team, Buffalo (4-11) is aiming for moral victories. While Bills fans eye the draft boards, the players are looking to head into the offseason with dignity and a win against a playoff team after starting the season 0-8.
Containing the Bills’ new-look offense
In Week 4, the Jets held Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to 128 passing yards for a 44.4 completion percentage, both season lows. Since that game, Fitzpatrick and team-leading receiver Steve Johnson (77 rec., 1,001 yds., 10 TD) have established a big-play offense the Jets might not recognize. Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis, who missed the last meeting with a hamstring injury, should shadow Johnson while the Jets’ defensive line seals off the mobile Fitzpatrick’s running lanes (41 att., 269 rush yards).
Get ‘Ground & Pound’ back on track
If the Jets expect running backs LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene to carry the offense to the Super Bowl, the Bills’ NFL-worst rush defense is exactly what they need to rebuild that confidence. Tomlinson rushed for two touchdowns and 133 yards against the Bills earlier this season, while Greene added another 117 rushing yards. Gang Green should dominate a Buffalo defensive front allowing more than 160 rushing yards per game. Also, look for rookie running back Joe McKnight to receive some second-half touches as an audition for a postseason role.
Rebuild Dustin Keller
Tight end Dustin Keller’s two-touchdown performance against Buffalo in Week 4 was the last time the third-year pro hauled in a score. Since then, Keller’s been neutralized by most defenses until last week’s loss in Chicago when he caught seven passes for 79 yards. It’s the catch Keller didn’t make, a dropped touchdown to close the first half that could’ve put the Jets up 28-17, that needs to be remedied. Finding success against the Bills’ fourth ranked pass defense could return stability to Keller’s role in the postseason.