While on his way to possibly being named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the year and also returning the Buffalo Bills to the Playoffs, quarterback E.J. Manuel suddenly went down with injury. Backup Thad Lewis performed admirably, but it wasn’t enough to keep Buffalo from suffering another poor start.
Of course, watching dynamic running back C.J. Spiller also go down did not help. Although Manuel’s crew is not mathematically out of Wild Card contention, things look bleak.
Their Week 11 opponent, the New York Jets, have a much more realistic chance of qualifying for postseason play. The fact that they’re coming off their bye may assist in breaking New York’s pattern of alternating wins and losses. A solid pass rush from a strong defensive front marks Gang Green’s strongest points.
Manuel’s mobility could be an issue for the Jets as he can scramble on designed plays or get out of trouble. His big-time arm strength also helps him make serious gains through the air. Fred Jackson remains viable at running back, but New York ranks first in run defense. Their secondary has faced difficulties in pass coverage during 2013. Adding Ed Reed recently helped provide veteran leader leadership at safety.
I don’t really think Josh Bush provides any kind of answer as a starter, and Dawan Landry is better at tackling than in coverage. Several weeks ago, Manuel went up against the Jets and struggled with pressure from budding superstar, defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, and a good rookie discovery in Sheldon Richardson. If they don’t get sacks and give him time though, Manuel will create issues.