New York Jets (5-2) at Detroit Lions (2-5)
To say the Jets suffered a lot of frustration during their 9-0 loss at home to Green Bay on Sunday is a major understatement. Consider all the mistakes made in what the New York media is referring to as “The Halloween Horror”:
— Coach Rex Ryan went 0-for-2 on replay challenges early (both of which were highly questionable decisions) and couldn’t challenge any calls in the second half. That came back to bite him when TE Dustin Keller was adjudged to have fumbled (replays showed he was down by contact) and the Jets couldn’t do anything about it.
— The Jets ran an inexplicable fake punt from their own 20-yard line that came up short.
— Mark Sanchez didn’t have a good day throwing into the notoriously fierce Meadowlands wind, but he didn’t get any help either. His receivers dropped five passes and two interceptions came on plays where Keller and Jerricho Cotchery let Green Bay defenders rip the ball out of their hands.
In short, it was a disaster from start to finish for Gang Green. This weekend, they’ll look to avenge the loss but won’t have an easy time with a resurgent Lions team that rallied to beat Washington last weekend. All told, the Lions have been very tough at home despite their modest 2-1 record; they hung tough before losing to the Eagles 35-32, blew out the Rams 44-6 and beat the Redskins 37-25. For you math majors out there that haven’t picked up on the trend yet — yes, the Lions can really score points at home. They’re averaging 37.6 points per game in Detroit this season, which is outstanding.
Chicago Bears (4-3) at Buffalo Bills (0-7)
One has to feel bad for those plucky Buffalo Bills. In back to back weeks, they’ve defied oddsmakers by hanging close with the Ravens (who were a 14-point favorite) and Chiefs (7.5-point faves) before losing both games in overtime. That said, Buffalo still has little-to-no ability to stop the run (ranked dead last in the NFL, allowing an incredible 188.7 yards per game) and it’s costing them on the scoreboard. Against Kansas City, the Bills allowed Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones to run for 177 and 77 yards respectively; the Chiefs gained 6.1 yards per rushing play and essentially wore out the Buffalo defense in what ended up being a war of attrition.
If that’s the recipe for beating the Bills — run, run and run some more — then Chicago will need to re-vamp its strategy on Sunday. Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz has been addicted to the pass for most of the season and that’s reflected in Chicago’s poor ground production (just 88.5 yards per game on average), and Chicago’s offensive line woes are well documented. That said, if there was ever a week to right the ship, this would be it. Look for Martz to get the ball in RB Matt Forte’s hands early and build some momentum with the run. It’ll make the Bear offense more diverse and take pressure off QB Jay Culter, who has been very erratic as of late.