TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 17: New York Jets At Buffalo Bills

Jets
Bills
Greg McElroy (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
Philadelphia Eagles v Buffalo Bills
Greg McElroy (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
Quarterback
The Mark Sanchez era with the Jets is almost certainly over. However, the Jets don’t really have a workable alternative at this point. Greg McElroy is a tough and competitive athlete, but he is a long way from proving that he is a legitimate NFL quarterback.
Winner There’s little doubt that Ryan Fitzpatrick plays with effort and can hit open receivers, but the Bills have to decide if he is the right man for the job in 2013. They haven’t had much success in 2012 and the team has gone 13 straight years without a postseason appearance. That means nobody is safe at this point.
Offense
The Jets don’t have the offensive weapons to challenge in the NFL. They are forced to play ground and pound and that doesn’t work if they fall behind. Shonn Greene had and up-and-down year, but he is the team’s best offensive threat. Jeremy Kerley has good speed and is probably the Jets’ best offensive threat.
Winner Stevie Johnson is the Bills’ best receiver, but he is still somewhat underrated. He can beat the best defensive backs in the game. His problem is a lack of consistency. The Bills also have a solid ground game led by C.J. Spiller, who is a threat to bust the big play every time he carries the ball.
Defense
Winner While the Jets’ defense is talented and light years ahead of the offense, that unit did not play with the kind of effort Rex Ryan needed this year. They rank overall in defense, but 29th against the run and that figure raises legitimate questions about their overall effort. Linebacker David Harris is the team’s leading tackler and a hard hitter.
Defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt did not have a good year. When his defense played well, it was slightly above average. When it played poorly, it was awful. Defensive end Mario Williams has reached double-digits in sacks, but he has not been the impact player the Bills were hoping they would see.
Special Teams
Special teams coach Mike Westhoff plans on retiring after this game. While he is known for meticulous preparation, Jets special teams have made too many mistakes this year. Nick Folk has been ordinary as a placekicker and so has Robert Malone as a punter.
Winner The Bills have been aggressive and effective on special teams. Leodis McKelvin had two punt returns for scores, but he is on injured reserve with a groin injury. Rian Lindell has been sensational as a placekicker for the Bills.

The Winner Is

Philadelphia Eagles v Buffalo Bills
Winner Bills
3 out of 4

Both teams will have to make major changes in the offseason, but the Bills seem to be in a better position to play 60 minutes and come out with the win at home. The Jets have to get started on 2013 and that means they need to get this game over with.

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