Previewing the opposition: Bills at Jets

We've already broken down the Bills roster when the teams were about to meet on opening day. However, now we're into the season, we can update you on personnel changes, who's in the rotation and how everyone is performing.

The Bills are trying to make the postseason for the first time since 1999 and have managed to navigate their way to 5-2 and are coming off a surprisingly easy 20-point win over the Raiders.


Tyrod Taylor has been efficient so far this year, but he isn't putting up big numbers. He had 268 yards against the Bucs but otherwise hasn't been over 225 and is averaging less than 200 per game. He also hasn't thrown more than two touchdown passes in any game, although he's completing a career best 64 percent of his passes and has just two interceptions.

As ever, the Jets will be mindful of Taylor's constant threat as a runner, although he's been less productive in that regard this year, with just four yards per carry, 175 yards and only one touchdown.

The back-up, rookie Nathan Peterman, is yet to see any action.

Offensive Line

The Bills entered the season with some good continuity on the line, but they've had to make a few changes as the season has gone along.

At left tackle, Cordy Glenn missed a few games and rookie Dion Dawkins started in his place. Dawkins didn't fare too badly, although he has given up a team-high three sacks. They'll often get him extra reps as an extra blocker.

Right guard John Miller was struggling badly so the Bills benched him for a certain Vladimir Ducasse, who has been an upgrade. In three starts, Ducasse hasn't had a penalty or given up a sack and has a positive run blocking grade.

Richie Incognito remains the Bills' best lineman and the key to their running game. He was dealing with an ankle injury this week but hasn't been listed on the injury report. He leads the Bills with four penalties.

Center Eric Wood and right tackle Jordan Mills are the only two players who have played every snap. Mills has struggled in the running game.

Along with Miller and Dawkins, Ryan Groy provides versatility off the bench.

Running Backs

LeSean McCoy is having another great season. He's on target to surpass 1,200 yards again and actually on course to beat his career-best of 78 receptions. The play in the season opener where he caught a short pass and broke several tackles to convert on third and long set the tone for their win over the Jets.

Mike Tolbert backs up McCoy and can also contribute as a pass blocker and fullback, although they do have a conventional lead blocker on the team in Patrick DiMarco.


After trading away Sammy Watkins before the first meeting, the Bills made another move by bringing in Kelvin Benjamin yesterday. Benjamin is a match-up nightmare at 6'5" and 240 pounds, but won't have had much time to learn the full playbook.

Other than McCoy, the Bills' leading pass catcher is tight end Charles Clay who has just 20 receptions and is out of this game after having had a minor surgery on his knee.

Jordan Matthews is their leading wide receiver with just 15 catches. 61 of his 193 yards on the season came on opening day, mostly on a big play after a missed tackle by Buster Skrine. Bills receivers combined for just four catches on the day.

Rookie Zay Jones has been a huge disappointment so far. He's caught just 10 passes on 31 targets. The 6'4" Andre Holmes has made some good contributions though. He made his third touchdown catch of the season on Sunday.

Nick O'Leary has been starting at tight end, backed up by Logan Thomas, who scored his first NFL touchdown in the game before last.

Defensive Line

The Bills also dumped a cornerstone piece on the defensive line when they traded Marcell Dareus to the Jaguars last week. His production had been awful this year (four solo tackles, one sack) and they obviously feel comfortable that they can be just as successful without him.

This puts a lot of pressure on Kyle Williams who is having another good season at 34. Adolphus Washington is now the other starter and Jerel Worthy and Cedric Thornton back up on the inside but none of them have made much of an impact.

Jerry Hughes is having an excellent year at defensive end, especially against the run. He's also leading the team in sacks, albeit with just three. The other starting end is Shaq Lawson who is also having a good year against the run. Ryan Davis brings some pass rush ability off the bench.


After his break-out 12.5 sack season last year, Lorenzo Alexander hasn't made the same impact. He has just two sacks and has been exploited at times in coverage.

Preston Brown has developed into a pretty reliable every down linebacker and leads the Bills in tackles. Ramon Humber is the other starter although he's listed as questionable as he recovers from a broken thumb.

Humber's replacement, Matt Milano, scored a defensive touchdown last week, though.

Defensive Backs

The Bills will also be without a starter in the secondary as cornerback EJ Gaines has been ruled out. However, Tre'Davious White is having a terrific rookie season and Shareece Wright is an experienced replacement. Leonard Johnson will cover the slot.

The starting safeties are Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer but Poyer is listed as questionable with an injury. Youngster Trae Elston had to start at safety against the Raiders having never before played a defensive snap but managed to hold up other than a couple of missed tackles.

Ex-Jet Shamarko Thomas is also on the roster and will probably serve as the third safety if Poyer can't play.

Special Teams

The Bills' kicking game hasn't been great. Steven Hauschka has only missed two field goals, both from beyond 40 yards but his opponent's start position on kickoffs is tied for the worst in the league.

Punter Colton Schmidt has had some struggles too, although he's allowed less than 99 return yards.

Back-up receiver Brandon Tate is the primary kick and punt return, and his longest return was a 40-yarder on a week five punt.

They have several productive players in coverage including Milano, Alexander and third string quarterback Joe Webb.