Friday, December 28, 2012
W2W4: Jets at Bills
By Rich Cimini
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The Jets opened the season with a 48-28 win over the Bills. Four months and a lot of bad football later, they close against the Bills.
There's no tangible motivation for the Jets (6-9), who were eliminated from playoff contention two weeks ago and blew their chance at .500 last week. Well, maybe there's one thing: They don't want to finish in the AFC East basement. The Bills are 5-11, having lost three straight. This is their fourth straight season of at least 10 losses.
Kickoff is 1 p.m. at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Here's what to watch for:
1. Sanchize is back: Mark Sanchez kept saying he'd get another starting shot; he just never thought it would happen this quickly. He got his old job back, much to Tim Tebow's chagrin, when Greg McElroy reported concussion symptoms Thursday.
We last saw Sanchez two weeks ago in Tennessee, where he committed five turnovers and got benched. A chance for redemption? Hold everything. Never base evaluations on meaningless games in December. Even if Sanchez lights up the Bills, which he did in the opener, it doesn't mean the QB problem is solved.
2. Tim's farewell: This will mark Tebow's final game in a Jets uniform. It's hard to get emotional because, well, he hasn't done much other than look good on the sideline. It'll be interesting to see if Rex Ryan lets Tebow out of the dog house, where he ended up last week after telling the coach he didn't want to be part of the Wildcat package. Does Ryan hold a grudge? Don't be surprised if Tebow doesn't get any action. WR Jeremy Kerley got practice reps in the Wildcat, so it looks like he'll be used in that role. Memo to Tebow: Dress warmly; it gets cold in Western New York when you're idle for three hours in the elements.
3. A Greene grand: Shonn Greene needs only 11 rushing yards to reach 1,000 for the second straight year. Something is wrong if it takes him more than two or three carries. Despite some talent on their defensive line, the Bills are allowing a league-high 3.7 yards per rush before contact, according to ESPN Stats & Information. That means they're either getting blown off the ball or fooled -- or both. It's probably both.
Greene, an unrestricted free agent, could be playing his final game as a Jet. Other starters in that category are RG Brandon Moore, LG Matt Slauson, DT Mike DeVito, LB Bart Scott, LB Calvin Pace, S LaRon Landry and S Yeremiah Bell.
4. Super Mario's revenge: Bills DE Mario Williams, the $100 million free agent, was embarrassed in the season opener. He was shut out by neophyte RT Austin Howard, a former practice-squad player whose annual salary probably equals Williams' Christmas expenses. Afterward, Williams whined to reporters, claiming Howard kept grabbing his facemask. You have to figure Williams, up to 10.5 sacks after a horrible start, will be out for some payback. This is a man-up game for the Jets' offensive line, which was humiliated in last week's 11-sack debacle.
5. The C.J. jinx: Two weeks ago, the Jets were burned by Titans RB Chris Johnson, who scored on a 94-yard run. Now they get to face another C.J. -- C.J. Spiller, who has a chance to make history. He can set the NFL record for most yards per carry, based on a minimum of 150 attempts. He's averaging 6.48 yards per rush, a fraction ahead of some guy name Jim Brown, who had 6.40 in 1963.
The Jets are familiar with Spiller's home-run ability. In the opener, he ran for 169 yards on 14 carries -- a 12.0 average. The Jets started him on his way, and now he'll look to finish it off against them.