Outsider’s View: Buffalo Bills – Week 3

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

We at TJB love advanced statistics and have long been fans of Football Outsiders.  Now that the season is underway, we’re going to take a look at the weekly opponents through the overall and unit rankings through the lens of Football Outsiders.  But before we do, let’s take a look at how the Bills are stacking up.  (As a heads up, negative percentages are good on defense, but bad on offense & specials)

EJ_ManuelPass Offense: 32.1% (7th)
Rush Offense: -2.9% (10th)
O-Line Ranking: Run 20th / Pass 4th

Analysis: The Buffalo offense is humming along in large part to Marrone working to put EJ Manuel in advantageous situations with an able and rising receiving corps and an interchangeable running back group  Buffalo has ranked among the best pass protecting groups with a rookie quarterback which indicates two things: (1) the Bills are running to protect Manuel (4th in the league with 33.5 attempts a game) even if it isn’t working as efficiently as possible and (2) forcing Manuel to get the ball out quickly, as evidenced by their low sack rate.  If the Jets can shut down the running game, they are going to force Manuel and Marrone to try and beat the Jets in the air.  If the Jets secondary can play with a little more stability with Milliner in an auxiliary role, then the Jets might be better off.  Still, shutting down Stevie Johnson is going to come down to Antonio Cromartie and we think Cromartie can limit Johnson even if Stevie can get some long gains on the day.  It will be up to the others to take care of players like Robert Woods and the rest.

Pass Defense: -14.1% (8th)
Rush Defense: -6.7% (23rd)
D-Line Ranking: Run 27th / Pass 12th

Analysis: While it is still early, the Bills seem to be doing well against the pass and not so well against the run, so for the Jets the best plan might be to attack the Bills on the ground early in the first half and see how they fare and then make adjustments accordingly.  Geno shows promise,  but it might be unfair to overload the rookie so running the ball attacks a weakness as well as minimizing the demand on the rookie.  If the Jets do go to the air, it’s a good thing that Jeremy Kerley is ready to play as the Bills seem to struggle in defending slot receivers specifically.  Look for the game plan to pinpoint that weakness.

Special Teams: 1.5% (14th)

Analysis: Should the game come down to kicks, the Jets might have an advantage with Nick Folk, but the one area that the Bills seem to struggle most at is their kick return game.  If the Jets can use this to pin the Bills deep, it might work to their favor.