Welcome to the second edition of Should I Watch the Thing? Last week’s inaugural column was a lot of fun to write. The game itself? Pretty freaking lame for the most part, so I guess the watchability score of 5/10 was accurate. It might’ve been a tad high actually.
The Baltimore Ravens utterly slaughtered the Miami Dolphins 40-0. That score is most definitely indicative of how the game went down. The only notable events were Joe Flacco nearly getting decapitated by Kiko Alonso (and the subsequent scuffle between the two teams), and a cat scurrying onto the field late in the fourth quarter. The kitty could probably play linebacker for the Oakland Raiders.
This week’s game is a bit better. We have a divisional rivalry on tap. The Buffalo Bills, who are coming off a big win against the Raiders, will be hosting the New York Jets tonight on Thursday Night Football. Peep last week’s article for more info on how the watchability system works. Let’s get this going!
Playoff implications: given how tight the AFC is right now, pretty much any interconference game has at least a tiny bit of playoff significance. The Bills are 5-2, just a half of a game behind the New England Patriots in the AFC East and in control of the 5 seed in the AFC. A loss would constrain things further.
The Jets, meanwhile, are surprisingly sitting at 3-5. Given that most people thought they’d be at the bottom of the NFL through eight weeks, that’s fairly impressive. Their playoff chances aren’t completely hopeless, but they’ll need a win here and some help elsewhere to gain ground.
2 points out of 3
Division rivalry/past history: well duh. The Bills and Jets aren’t the most fierce of AFC East rivals, but they’ve had animosity in the past, most recently stemming from Rex Ryan‘s short tenure as Bills head coach after the Jets fired him.
The Bills lead the all-time series 61-53. They won the first meeting this season 21-12 during the opening week, as well as six of the last nine matchups. The Jets won both games last season, however.
1.5 points out of 2 (3.5 out of 5 points total)
Team quality: there appears to be a big disconnect in this category. For one, the Bills are looking really strong as of late. Along with the week 1 win over the Jets and last week’s dismantling of the Raiders, they’ve beaten the Denver Broncos, Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Their two losses show a sign of weakness (the Carolina Panthers are a solid team, while the Cincinnati Bengals are mediocre), but the Bills defense seems to be peaking at the right time.
Meanwhile, the Jets actually had a three-game winning streak earlier this season. Sure, the Dolphins and Cleveland Browns wins aren’t overly impressive, but the victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars is a point in their favor. In addition to the Bills loss and dropping the rematch game to the Dolphins, they’ve also lost to the Raiders, Falcons and New England Patriots.
1 point out of 2 (4.5 out of 7 points total)
Offensive showcase potential: this is where the game falls apart to an extent. Both teams rely on their defenses more than their offenses. The Bills hadn’t put up more than 30 points in their games before the last two games. However, they just acquired Kelvin Benjamin at the trade deadline, which gives Tyrod Taylor another weapon to work with.
The Jets don’t have a lot of hope on their end. Josh McCown hasn’t been awful at quarterback, but they’re limited pretty much everywhere else.
0.5 points out of 2 (5 out of 9 points total)
Must-see players/record watches: nothing on the record watch front, but there are plenty of players to tune in for. How Benjamin fits in with the Bills offense will most certainly be an item of interest. However, LeSean McCoy has been on a tear thus far, and he’s going up against a talented Jets defensive line, led by Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson. That’ll definitely be cool to see.
1 point out of 1 (6 out of 10 points total)
This is marginally better than last week’s game by virtue of being a divisional matchup. I’d actually advise you to watch, though. Sure, the Jets are always liable to get destroyed. However, this will be a huge test for the Bills. If they’re truly a playoff caliber team, they should handle the Jets. If not, we could have a close defensive battle on our hands.