Previewing the opposition: Buffalo Bills

The last Jets regular season game was a 30-10 win over the Bills, but both teams were resting several key players and have had a lot of roster turnover since then. How have the Bills changed and what do Jets fans need to look out for later today?


Tyrod Taylor looked like he was on the way out of Buffalo, but eventually agreed to an extension and looks set to build on two solid seasons. Typically, the Jets will look to contain Taylor rather than throwing exotic blitzes at him, but with it being the first game of the season, it's difficult to know what to expect.

Taylor had a poor preseason, completing less than 50% of his passes and throwing two interceptions and no touchdowns before going down with a concussion that looked for a while like it might rule him out of this game. He may not have much chemistry with his receivers at this stage.

The current number two is rookie Nathan Peterman, who didn't throw an interception in preseason but had some issues with accuracy and had four passes batted down at the line in one game against the Ravens.

The Bills also have Joe Webb on their roster, who once started a playoff game. TJ Yates was going to be the number two, but he also had a concussion and was placed on injured reserve

Offensive Line

The good news for the Bills is that they bring back all five of their starters on the offensive line. The bad news is that some felt they should perhaps try and upgrade the right side of the line. Right guard John Miller came on strong as a run blocker but still had some struggles in pass protection but right tackle Jordan Mills was a weak link in the running game and gave up a team-high eight sacks.

Cordy Glenn and Richie Incognito give the Bills a very solid left side of the line with Incognito dominant once again last year, although he did lead the team in offensive penalties. Eric Wood is a solid veteran at center, but shows signs of aging at 31.

Ryan Groy started several games at center last year and did quite well so he's a solid back-up. Also on their bench are rookies Dion Dawkins and Conor McDermott and a familiar face in Vladimir Ducasse.

Running Backs

LeSean McCoy had a nice bounce-back last season after having been banged-up in 2015. He went to the pro bowl with over 1,200 rushing yards, although the Jets held him to 10 yards on five carries in the season finale. McCoy missed practice time during the week through illness.

With youngsters Mike Gillislee and Jonathan Williams gone, there are some new faces in the backfield with veterans Mike Tolbert, Joe Banyard and Taiwan Jones.

At fullback, Tolbert can contribute but the Bills brought in another veteran in Patrick DiMarco.


The Bills traded Sammy Watkins away, perhaps hoping that rookie Zay Jones is going to step up and be their go-to receiver. He broke multiple all-time NCAA receiving records in college and is an impressive route runner and deep threat with great hands and versatility.

Filling out the depth chart are three more solid but less inspiring veterans in Jordan Matthews, Andre Holmes and Brandon Tate. Matthews has averaged 75 catches and just under 900 yards per season in his career so far. Holmes also presents a challenge at 6'4". Tate is the only wide receiver that Taylor has thrown a regular season pass to - he threw to him 10 times last year.

Anquan Boldin was also part of their plans but he opted to retire rather than play another year for the Bills at 36 years old.

Taylor at least has one of his favorite targets still on the team in tight end Charles Clay. Clay's back-up Nick O'Leary was also on the team last year and performed well as a run blocker.

Defensive Line

The Bills' main strength should be in their defensive front. They're listed as a 4-3 team on the official depth chart but actually played mostly 3-4 last season.

Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus once again anchor the interior. The ageless Williams remains one of the best run stuffers in the NFL. Dareus, however, has been an enigma since signing his big money deal, with injuries and off-field insubordination affecting his on-field production. He always gave Nick Mangold problems though, so it's a tough way for Wes Johnson to begin his first season as the full-time starter.

Off the edge, Jerry Hughes and Shaq Lawson are listed as the starters at defensive end. Hughes had a bit of a disappointing season last year but is still capable of generating a lot of pressure, although he struggles in the running game. Lawson also had a disappointing year as a rookie, but that was largely due to injuries that slowed his development.

Back-ups Jerel Worthy and Adolphus Washington saw plenty of action on the line last season and they're joined by Ryan Davis, Eddie Yarborough and Cedric Thornton. Davis is defensive end who can create a good interior rush, although he's only recorded 3.5 sacks since 2014. Yarborough snuck onto the roster after he was a surprise in camp. The veteran Thornton only just arrived after being a letdown in Dallas. It may be too soon to expect him to contribute.


The linebackers are led by Lorenzo Alexander who had an incredible season out of nowhere to go to the pro bowl. Alexander entered last year as a 33-year old 10th year veteran who had never had three sacks in a season. He ended the year with 12.5 sacks, more than doubling his career total.

Preston Brown led the team in total snaps last year and was much better than in 2015 but still inconsistent. Zach Brown could be a big loss for the Bills. His spot in the starting line-up goes to Ramon Humber who was just a back-up last season and will probably come out of the game in passing situations.

The only reserves on the roster are two rookies - Matt Milano and Tanner Vallejo - but they'll probably play a lot of 3-4 and subpackages.

Defensive Backs

It's all change in the defensive backfield - literally. 14 Bills defensive backs saw action on defense last year and none of them are still on the roster. Stephon Gilmore, Ronald Darby and Corey Graham were among those to depart.

EJ Gaines, acquired in the Watkins trade, is in the last year of his rookie deal. He didn't have a great year last year, surrendering a 141.7 quarterback rating when targeted.

The other starting cornerback will be a rookie making his NFL debut in Tre'Davious White. The Bills will hope he has an immediate impact like Darby did for them. Darby intercepted passes in each of his first two games.

Veterans Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer are listed as the starting safeties. Both have starting experience, although Poyer's 2016 season was cut short when he was placed on injured reserve with a lacerated kidney.

Back-up cornerback Shareece Wright has plenty of starting experience if White or Gaines struggles and Leonard Johnson could be an option in the slot. Reserve safety Colt Anderson, who will be 32 in October, has mostly been a special teamer during his career.

Special Teams

The Bills have a new kicker after they signed Steven Hauschka in free agency. He missed some high profile kicks last year, including a chip-shot in overtime in a game they tied and a last minute extra point in a game they lost in overtime.

Statistically, punter Colton Schmidt did not have a great season in 2016 either.

Tate is currently listed as the primary return man on kicks and punts, but back-up receiver Kaelin Clay also has potential.

Finally, in coverage, Humber was the Bills' leading tackler last year with Alexander not far behind. With both in the starting line-up, they might be hoping for one of the rookies to step up here.