PROTECT JOSH McCOWN
McCown might have the spirit of a young man, but he’s still 39 in Earth years. His injury history has been well documented, so it’ll be incumbent on the Jets offensive linemen, tight ends and running backs to make sure the veteran doesn’t get hit too much. Don’t be fooled by the Bills’ 2-7 record, either. This is a quality defense that made life hard for Tom Brady a couple weeks ago.
Buffalo ranks sixth in pressure rate (37.1 percent), according to Pro Football Focus. Sean McDermott’s defense generated pressure on 10 of Mitchell Trubisky’s 21 drop backs (47.6 percent) last week. So, don’t expect a cakewalk for McCown, who completed 67.8 percent of his passes with 1 TD and 2 INTs in splitting the series with the Bills last season.
The Jets have allowed a pressure on 36.2 percent of Sam Darnold’s drop backs (116 of 32). McCown isn’t nearly as mobile, so his teammates will have to step up their protection.
It’s been three games since Todd Bowles’ defense got a takeaway. The only thing missing from last week’s shutdown defensive performance in Miami was a turnover. Don’t worry: Nathan Peterman to the rescue! The mistake-prone second-year Bills signal caller gives out interceptions like candy. He has an unfathomable 12 picks on 130 career pass attempts, including five in his two starts this season (and seven total in 2018). Translation: He stinks to high heaven.
McDermott hasn’t committed to Peterman on Sunday. Rookie Josh Allen, who is officially questionable after being limited in practice all week, could return from an elbow injury. If he does, the Jets will have to contend with Allen’s Bazooka arm and the threat of read-option plays.
The Bills have also left the door open for journeyman Matt Barkley to start, but he’s about as scary as a haunted house with the lights on.
The Jets did have to watch tape of all nine Buffalo games this season (rather than just the previous four) due to the uncertainty at quarterback. Watching nine Bills game is pretty darn scary.
MOVE THE FREAKIN’ FOOTBALL
I know, I know. It’s easier said than done, but Gang Green’s offense has been stuck in neutral during this three-game losing streak. The Jets haven’t even gotten into the red zone the past couple weeks, for Pete’s sake. Jeremy Bates’ unit has averaged just 11 points in the past three games. The Jets have scored just one touchdown in their last 27 drives. That’s unacceptable… unless Peterman is your quarterback. Then, we might understand.
McCown should be able to get things rolling again after he knocks off the rust. We’ll also get a window into what this offense could be with a more experienced signal caller. Don’t get me wrong: Darnold is going to be the best thing to happen to this franchise in a long time, but it’s been complicated to pinpoint exactly why the offense has struggled with the rookie quarterback. Is it him? Is it the scheme?