Inside the Jets-Bills matchup

It only took a decade or two, but we finally have a Jets-Bills game that means something. This one has plenty of interesting angles. Let's go inside, with help from ESPN Stats & Information:


• The Jets won't have much reason to use their base defense; they'll be in nickel and dime throughout the entire game. That's because the Bills have used the spread offense (3+ WRs) more than any team in the NFL -- 339 times out of their 434 plays. Their run-pass ratio out of the spread look is 38-62.

• Fitzpatrick is a dink-and-dunk passer. He has totalled 1,609 air yards on his attempts, which averages only 7.0 yards per pass, third-lowest in the league. The only quarterbacks with a lower average are Tony Romo and A.J. Feeley. The Bills' offense is based on timing, three- and five-step drops and quick throws. The Jets need to play aggressive press coverage to disrupt the timing.

• One of their favorite passes is the screen. In fact, Fitzpatrick has completed 27 of 28 screen passes for a 101.6 passer rating.


• Everybody talks about Jackson's running ability -- and there's a lot to talk about -- but he's also a dangerous receiver. He has 27 receptions for 378 yards after the catch (YAC), an average of 14.0 -- second-best YAC in the league. Patriots WR Wes Welker is first. Tackling Jackson in space will be critical; it's going to take outstanding pursuit to the ball.


• Fitzpatrick's favorite receiver is Stevie Johnson (team-high 60 targets), but when he gets in the red zone, the focus shifts to TE Scott Chandler (six TDs). He leads the team with six end-zone targets, resulting in five TDs. It wouldn't be a surprise if the Jets use a bracket coverage on Chandler near the goal line. One more thing about Fitzpatrick's receivers: The Bills have only five dropped passes.


Fitzpatrick doesn't get blitzed too often, probably because of his quick release. He also happens to be very good against the blitz. Against 5+ pass rushers, he has completed 65% of his passes for a 101.6 passer rating. The Jets haven't been blitzing as much this season, as compared to past years, but it might be tempting if the Bills spread the field and keep in only five to block. But you'd better make sure the blitz gets there or it could be a big play.


The Bills don't do a whole lot of blitzing, but they happen to be pretty effective at it. When sending 5+ pass rushers, they've held opponents to two touchdowns, five interceptions and a 61.4 passer rating. QB Mark Sanchez has handled extra pressure pretty well, with only one interception and a 96.1 rating in 79 attempts vs. 5+ rushers. Interesting side note: The Jets are the only team that hasn't surrendered a touchdown pass with 5+ pass rushers.


The Jets and Bills are polar opposites when it comes to offensive philosophy. Oh, they both want to maintain balance, but they go about it in different ways. The Jets aren't into the spread formations. Since Rex Ryan's Ground-and-Pound speech in Week 5, the Jets have used more two-RB and two-TE packages. In fact, they average 4.6 yards per rush when using multiple tight ends. That's something to watch because the Bills (4.9 ypc) are struggling with their run defense.