Buffalo Bills (1-1) at New York Jets (1-1)
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, at MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J. - TV: CBS
*TV announcers: Marv Albert, Rich Gannon
*Keys to the game: The Bills selected rookie QB EJ Manuel with the No. 16 overall pick in April, passing over Geno Smith, who will start for the Jets. Both have shown promises through their first two career starts while also suffering through typical rookie inconsistencies. Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine used to be on the staff of Jets head coach Rex Ryan, and both are excellent defensive minds who will look to confuse the rookie quarterbacks into mistakes. That's where the ground games come into play. The resurgent Jets defense is playing extremely well and will look to bottle up RBs C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson force Manuel to make plays with his arm on third-and-long. Manuel has done a better job of avoiding mistakes than Smith, who has thrown four interceptions and has struggled with accuracy on his deep balls. RBs Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell comprise a physical tandem that can move the chains but present no big-play threat. With Smith's penchant for hanging onto the ball too long, it's imperative for Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg to stay committed to the ground game.
*Matchup to watch – Bills WR Stevie Johnson vs. Jets CB Antonio Cromartie: Buffalo lacks other proven playmakers in the passing game, so Cromartie is expected to shadow Johnson as the Jets attempt to force Manuel to look elsewhere with the ball.
*Player spotlight – Bills LG Colin Brown: He has been the least effective guard in the NFL through two games, according to Pro Football Focus, but Buffalo doesn't have a suitable replacement with Doug Legursky (knee) hobbled.
*Fast facts: Manuel is the first rookie quarterback to post a passer rating of 89 or better in each of his first two NFL games. ... This is the first time in the 53-year history of the Jets the team will start a rookie quarterback against an opponent also starting a rookie under center.
WHO WILL WIN AND WHY
The Jets' offense is a significant work in process, but the defense has been outstanding. Allowing just 59.5 rushing yards per game, they have the better ability to force the Bills into a one-dimensional attack and take advantage of a rookie quarterback.
*Our pick: Jets 20-1
By Derek Harper, The Sports Xchange
Publish Date: September 19, 2013 02:32:05 PM
Week 3: Jets-Bills matchup analysis
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