The Buffalo Bills (5-2) at the Jets (3-5) at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J., on Thursday, Nov. 2 at 8:25 p.m. ET.
It feels like fall has finally arrived, but it actually shouldn't be too terrible for this game. The kickoff temperature should be in the low 60s with minimal winds in the forecast. If you sat through Sunday's slop -- And really, if you did: Why? -- this will feel like a Hawaiian vacation.
Coverage on SNY:
- Jets Pre-Game Live at 7 p.m.
- Jets Halftime Live on Facebook.com/SNY
- Jets Post-Game Live on SNY immediately following the game
WHAT IT MEANS
Let's face facts: The Jets are not going to go 6-2 in the second half, which is the minimum record they'll need to make the playoffs. But if they can get to 4-5 at the bye week they will give themselves at least a reason to believe and a much-needed boost of energy for when their schedule gets really, really tough. A fourth-straight loss might send this season into an unstoppable tailspin that will force the Jets to ask some really key questions: Like when do they sit Josh McCown so they can start Christian Hackenberg and see what they've got.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Jets CB Daryl Roberts
With CBs Buster Skrine (concussion) and Morris Claiborne (foot) hobbled, Roberts is suddenly the main man among the Jets' corners. That wasn't a good thing on Sunday when Claiborne first went out. Almost immediately, the Atlanta Falcons went after him, and Julio Jones ran right by him for his first -- and only -- big catch of that game. His task isn't as difficult this week. The Bills' best receiver is actually RB LeSean McCoy (see the "Matchup to Watch") and their second-best receiver is a tight end (Charles Clay). Their No. 1 receiver, Jordan Matthews, has only 15 catches (in six games) and it's unknown how quickly the newly-acquired Kelvin Benjamin will be able to work into their offense. So it's doubtful Roberts would have to shadow anyone the way Claiborne did Jones in the first half of the game last week. But it bears watching whenever a team has lost its top two players at one position. Tyrod Taylor is a strong-armed quarterback and he could take advantage of this hole in the Jets' defense.
MATCHUP TO WATCH: Jets LB Darron Lee vs. Bills RB LeSean McCoy
OK, it's not only Lee who has to deal with "Shady," but this is the kind of matchup where Lee is supposed to excel. He's not necessarily built for the ultra-physical, one-on-one battles, but he should be able to use his speed to keep up with the faster, shiftier running backs in the league. That's McCoy, who has dangerous moves and is terrific when he gets through the line and out into space. Back in the opener -- a 21-12 Bills win -- the Jets had plenty of problems with McCoy. He ran 22 times for 110 yards and was the Bills' leading receiver, with five catches for 49 yards. If he does similar damage this time, it will be a long night for the Jets. But Lee is playing much better lately than he was the first few weeks of the season.
The Jets really have played well overall the last three weeks, if you overlook the big mistakes. I know, you can't overlook those, and they are the reasons why they've lost three straight. But their defense has been playing much better, and their offense seems to have found a bit of a rhythm, too. When their running game struggled against the Falcons, for example, they found success through the air. And McCown has even developed a connection with Robby Anderson on deep passes that were missing from their repertoire earlier in the year. The problem here, though, is the Bills seem built to stop a middling team like the Jets. They run the ball very well, which they should continue to do against a Jets team that hasn't been very good at stopping the run all season. And they stop the run well, which they should continue to do against a Jets team that has struggled to run the ball lately. When that happens, the Jets are forced to pass, and when that happens, they tend to make mistakes, and when that happens they lose. It's a vicious cycle and one that will very likely continue on Thursday night. … Bills 20, Jets 13.
MY RECORD: 5-3
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING JETS TO WIN: 2-2
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING JETS TO LOSE: 3-1