Key defensive injuries and a lackluster offense. That has been the story so far this season for the Buffalo Bills, who sit at 1-4 and last place in the AFC East. A lot of promise was shown through the first two weeks of the season - Trent Edwards looked like he was well on his way past his checkdown-crazy phase and the defense was effectively shutting offenses down. Weeks 3 and 4 saw the Bills revert back to where they started off. Possibly even worse. Now, the Bills travel to the Meadowlands this Sunday to play the 3-2 New York Jets.
The Bills have been crushed by defensive injuries. Each week, it seems like one more key player is lost for the season. The latest? Linebackers Kawika Mitchell and Marcus Buggs. With the loss of Paul Posluszny, Mitchell turned into the leader and Buggs looked promising. Not signing any more veteran linebackers is starting to come back to haunt Buffalo's coaching staff. Posluszny does look good to play this weekend and will be joined by newly acquired veteran Chris Draft and Orchard Park native Jon Corto.
The Bills will need all the help they can get. New York started the season 3-0, but has lost its past two. Most recently, they got into an offensive shootout with Miami on Monday night that saw a last-second Ronnie Brown "Wildcat" touchdown. New York, boasting one of the best defenses in the league, has given up 756 yards of total offense the past two weeks - both losses.
Buffalo must snap out of this offensive nightmare if they want any chance of beating New York at home. With Terrell Owens and Lee Evans combining for just two touchdowns and 361 yards, one of the most highly anticipated receiving duos has been a complete bust.
Week 2 saw Trent Edwards take shots downfield. And guess what? It worked! T.O. and Evans both had huge catches that crushed Tampa's lowly secondary. However, the next three weeks Edwards reverted back to Captain Checkdown.
The theme is the same. Take shots downfield, and you increase your chance of winning by tenfold. The no-huddle offense is called no-huddle for a reason - to keep defenses guessing and on their heels. That hasn't happened yet so far this year. When Jim Kelly ran the K-Gun, he kept the chains moving, methodically and without mercy. Edwards seems slow, hesitant and afraid.
With one of the deadliest backfields in the league, Buffalo needs to utilize Fred Jackson more. The past two games, Jackson has touched the ball just 22 times. Granted, Buffalo does need to play Marshawn Lynch. But Jackson is a dual threat who can make things happen in open space if you get him the ball.
Mark Sanchez is probably licking his chops after looking at Buffalo's shattered secondary. The return of Donte Whitner will help and rookie Jairus Byrd is slowly starting to be an impact player, but Buffalo is in desperate need of defensive help. Terrence McGee will be covering the recently acquired Braylon Edwards, who New York got in a multi-player trade. Edwards played well in his Jets debut, making some eye-opening catches and apparently getting rid of his bad case of "the drops".
The Bills will need Jackson and Lynch to step up to beat the Jets' defense. Unless Trent Edwards turns his clunk into some funk, the aerial attack is staying grounded. Lynch must "Beast Mode" his way through Bart Scott and Kerry Rhodes if the Bills want any chance of winning.
O, and Roscoe Parrish can't fumble a punt on the 20 yard line with two minutes left with the game tied.
Prediction: Jets 27, Bills 14