Here are some of the key matchups to watch:
Jets CB Darrelle Revis vs. Bills WR Stevie Johnson
Over the past few seasons, Darrelle Revis has made it a habit to shut down every receiver who he lines up against. Stevie Johnson (above left) scored the only touchdown Revis allowed all season in 2011.
Revis (above right) is arguably as dominant a player as there is in football. That’s why when he shows even a shred of mortality, it becomes a bigger deal than it really is.
Nobody ever really gets the best of Revis, but Johnson seemingly always finds a way to make plays and challenge Revis like no other receiver in football. He definitely gets a tip of the cap for that.
Jets RT Austin Howard vs. Bills DE Mario Williams
The 25-year-old Howard will get a baptism by fire in his first start in a Jets uniform when he faces off with Mario Williams, the Bills’ prize free agent acquisition. The $100 million man Williams will test Howard early and often.
You can expect the Jets to try everything they can to slow down Williams and his linemates, with extra protection rolled to Howard’s side of the field as needed.
It goes without saying that winning the battle in the trenches will have a major impact on the outcome of the game. The Jets cannot allow the Bills to wreak havoc in the pocket.
Jets NT Kenrick Ellis vs. Bills C Eric Wood
Second-year man Kenrick Ellis is being asked to fill some big shoes, as he’s expected to start in place of injured star Sione Po’uha. Ellis looked terrific at times in the preseason, but he needs to prove it for real.
Eric Wood, and the rest of the interior of the Bills’ offensive line, must contend with a stout Jets defensive line that will be anchored by Ellis in the 3-4.
If Ellis and the Jets can get good penetration in the running game and bottle up Fred Jackson, it’s going to make life pretty stressful for Ryan Fitzpatrick and company.