Coming off a two-game losing streak The Buffalo Bills take on what has been the weakest team in the AFC East so far. The Bills have made the wrong kind of headlines this week with starting TE Dawson Knox testing positive for COVID-19 and three other Bills Tight Ends (Lee Smith, Tommy Sweeney, Nate Becker) ending up on the COVID reserve list. With an already depleted team due to injuries, the Bills hope that they can get through Sunday unscathed with no more injuries or positive COVID tests. The Jets look to get Sam Darnold back this week after two weeks with Joe Flacco handling the quarterback duties. The return of Sam Darnold and the Bills banged-up team make this a matchup that has gotten quite interesting. Here are three things to watch out for when the Bills take on the Jets on Sunday at 1pm in New Jersey.
1. The Depth of the Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills have 5 current starters ruled out or on IR coming into Sunday. In addition to that arguably the Bills best two defenders in Matt Milano and Tre'davious White are questionable and not likely to make much of an impact if they play. With the depth of the Buffalo Bills being exposed over the past two weeks vs. the Chiefs and Titans, it is important that the depth players of the Bills perform better against a team like the New York Jets. Some backup players who we could see a lot of this coming Sunday are Justin Zimmer, Cam Lewis, Andre Smith, and rookie Dane Jackson. Due to the positive Covid test of Dawson Knox, the Bills were able to call up 4 players from the practice squad. With the injuries that the Bills have we could see potentially all four of them get quality playing time. The largest area of concern for Sunday is the Cornerback position. If Tre'Davious White cannot play then the Bills are down to Taron Johnson, Cam Lewis, Dane Jackson, and Siran Neal. Outside of Taron Johnson, all the players on that list have had less than 100 NFL snaps at the cornerback position combined. This could be quite the issue for the Bills with Sam Darnold coming back this week. Darnold could easily pick apart these corners on Sunday.
2. Duke Williams Role in the Offense.
Bills fan favorite Duke Williams has always performed in training camp and given the Bills Social Media team a plethora of highlights to post. However, on Sunday's Duke has yet to wow. Williams was one of the four call ups from the practice squad by Sean McDermott and will get his first action this season. With John Brown out and Andre Roberts being a liability when lined up as a receiver in recent weeks we could see Duke Williams get some serious snaps on Sunday. The Bills lineup with 3 or more receivers on 97% of their plays which is the most in the NFL. With Cole Beasley in the slot and Diggs outside, we could see Gabe Davis and Duke Williams split time or join Diggs and Beasley in 4WR sets. As the Bills passing attack looks to get back to its success in the first four weeks of the season, it is possible that we see a lot of Duke Williams on Sunday.
James P. McCoy
3. The Return of Josh Allen
The past two weeks Josh Allen did not look the part of the MVP conversation that many people put him in through the first four weeks. Has Allen improved significantly from year two? Yes, Allen has taken a massive step since last season. However, he still has weaknesses and the Titans and Chiefs were able to expose that. In both games, Allen looked off and he often missed easy throws. Through all of that Allen still showed on some drives how much he has improved. It showed on a 6 play 75-yard drive that the Bills had vs. the Chiefs where Allen made three consecutive great throws the resulted in a touchdown. Against this Jets Defense, Allen has the opportunity to get back to his performance in the first four weeks and even improve on those. Allen wowed in the first four weeks. However, he really has yet to have a complete game this year. In the first four weeks, it seemed like Allen was electric for three-quarters of each game. Against the Jets, he has the opportunity to really put a full game together and rebound from his performances against the Chiefs and Titans.
AP Photo/Seth Wenig
Overall, the Bills should handle the Jets this weekend. The game could easily be closer than many Bills fans want due to the injuries on the Bills defense and the return of Sam Darnold. This is a good opportunity for the Bills depth to be tested and to bounceback after a tough couple of weeks.
Prediction: Bills 35, Jets 26