The Buffalo Bills aim to grab a share of the division lead while giving the spiraling New York Jets plenty of space in the cellar on Thursday, when the AFC East rivals meet at MetLife Stadium. Buffalo, which is off to its best start since 2008, has won two in a row to remain one-half game behind first-place New England while New York has dropped three in a row following a promising 3-2 start.
Bills rookie coach Sean McDermott was all smiles this week and added he’s “extremely proud” of his club but cautioned that “nobody gives out awards for 5-2.” Perhaps, but Buffalo owns a league-best plus-14 turnover margin and is third in the league with 115 points allowed, and continued opportunistic defensive play like that could go a long way in helping the team end its 17-season playoff drought. The Jets have been rather generous with the ball this season, committing 14 turnovers (seven interceptions, seven fumbles), including Jeremy Kerley’s costly muffed punt in Sunday’s 25-20 setback against Atlanta. “Too many mistakes in the fourth quarter,” New York coach Todd Bowles told reporters. “Can’t happen. Can’t put the ball on the ground. Can’t have timely mistakes.”
TV: 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network. LINE: Bills -3.5. O/U: 43
ABOUT THE BILLS (5-2): LeSean McCoy recorded season highs in carries (27) and rushing yards (151) while registering his third touchdown in two games during Sunday’s 34-14 romp over Oakland. The versatile 29-year-old added at least six receptions for the fourth time this season and rolled up 159 yards from scrimmage in Buffalo’s season-opening 21-12 win over New York. Tyrod Taylor, who has impressed McDermott with a pair of strong performances since the team’s bye week, threw for 297 yards and three touchdowns in Buffalo’s 37-31 setback against New York on Sept. 15, 2016. The Bills added a jolt to their passing game by acquiring wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (32 receptions, 475 yards, two touchdowns) from Carolina for two draft choices prior to Tuesday’s trading deadline.
ABOUT THE JETS (3-5): Frustrations are mounting as the losses pile up for New York, which saw veteran Matt Forte openly question the play-calling of offensive coordinator John Morton as the team appeared to abandon the run in the rainy and sloppy conditions versus the Falcons. Josh McCown, who recorded his highest completion percentage of the season in that contest (26-of-33, 78.8 percent), has thrown nine touchdown passes in his last four games after being limited to three in his first four. Robby Anderson, who leads the team with 435 receiving yards, has found the end zone in back-to-back weeks.
1. Kerley will receive a suspension from the NFL for an undisclosed violation, multiple outlets reported on Tuesday.
2. Buffalo S Micah Hyde leads the league with five interceptions - four of which have come over his last four games.
3. With Morris Claiborne (foot) and Buster Skrine (concussion) nursing injuries, the Jets acquired fellow CB Rashard Robinson from San Francisco on Tuesday for an undisclosed 2018 draft pick.
PREDICTION: Bills 20, Jets 16