Everything you need to know, plus what I’ll be watching for Sunday when the Buffalo Bills host the New York Jets.
TV: CBS. Announcers: Spero Dedes (play by play), Adam Archuleta (color analyst).
Radio: Bills Radio Network. Buffalo-WGR 550 AM; Toronto-Fan 590 AM; Rochester-WCMF 96.5 FM and WROC 950 AM; Syracuse-WTKW 99.5 FM and WTKV 105.5 FM. Announcers: John Murphy (play-by-play), Mark Kelso (color analyst).
Series history: Bills lead, 61-54. The Bills have held their opponents to less than 130 passing yards in four consecutive games, which is the longest such streak in the NFL since 2009.
Bills injury report: Out: QB Derek Anderson (concussion), CB Taron Johnson (shoulder). Doubtful: TE Jason Croom (groin). Questionable: WR Isaiah McKenzie (toe).
Jets injury report: Questionable: CB Buster Skrine (shoulder), TE Jordan Leggett (knee), RB Isaiah Crowell (toe), WR Robby Anderson (ankle).
Point spread: The Bills are 3.5-point favorites, the first time that’s happened this season, at footballlocks.com.
Did you know? Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White and Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne both grew up in Shreveport, La. Claiborne has been a mentor to White since childhood.
Next up: The Bills wrap up a two-game homestand when the Detroit Lions make the short trip over for a 1 p.m. game next Sunday.
Here are five things to watch against the Jets:
1. Josh Allen vs. Sam Darnold. The first meeting of top-seven overall draft picks is as compelling as a game between 4-8 and 3-9 teams can be. Allen has made undeniable progress in his two games since returning from an elbow injury. The Jets will be looking for the same from Darnold, who has missed the last three games with a foot injury. He was struggling before getting hurt. Allen and Darnold trained together before the draft in California with Jordan Palmer. This could be the start of a rivalry that lasts the next 15 years. At least both teams hope that’s the case.
2. What does the wide receiver depth chart look like? The release of Kelvin Benjamin this week opens up more opportunity for the likes of Robert Foster, Ray-Ray McCloud and Isaiah McKenzie – provided he can play despite a toe injury. Last week, Zay Jones became the first Bills receiver to catch two touchdown passes in one game. He’ll dominate the snap count, but it will be who emerges behind him that’s worth tracking.
3. Who plays nickel cornerback? Rookie Taron Johnson is out after having shoulder surgery, opening a big hole in the Bills’ defense. The options are moving safety Rafael Bush to the position, which he’s done before this season, or giving cornerbacks like Ryan Lewis or Denzel Rice, who was recently promoted from the practice squad, a look. We’ve seen coach Sean McDermott throw young players promoted from the practice squad right onto the field before this year, so don’t count Rice out.
4. Can the team clean things up? The Bills have taken 13 penalties in back-to-back games. That’s absolutely too many. McDermott has talked about playing with more discipline, but it has not translated yet. The Bills are the NFL’s second-most penalized team this year, behind only the Kansas City Chiefs. The offensive line, in particular, has been frequently guilty, with both false starts and holding calls.
5. How does the secondary respond? The Bills entered last week’s game against Miami having allowed the second-fewest passing touchdowns in the NFL. It was a disappointment, then, that Ryan Tannehill was able to put up three touchdowns. The secondary will be eager to rebound against a rookie who has thrown more interceptions (14) than touchdowns (11).