Bills vs. Jets Scouting Report

by Greg Gabriel, Buffalo Sports Page NFL Expert

In most cases when two teams from the same division play each other, especially early, the score is close because the two clubs know each other so well. I don’t think that will be the case when the Buffalo Bills host the New York Jets Sunday afternoon at New Era Field.

With the Bills, there is a new coaching staff with new schemes on both sides of the ball.  So the Jets won’t have much to go on as far as tendencies. Sure they can look at Carolina tape from the last few years and get an idea of what the Bills will be doing defensively.  But the Buffalo personnel on defense isn’t close to the same personnel Carolina has had, especially at linebacker.

Quarterback Mystery

The preseason isn’t much of a help because clubs generally play very vanilla-type offenses and defenses. On offense, the Bills offensive coordinator is Rick Dennison, who has been at Denver the last two seasons. In 2015 he had a guy named Peyton Manning playing quarterback.  Last year it was a combination of Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch. Right now with Tyrod Taylor at the positon, he is dissimilar to any of the quarterbacks Dennison had in Denver.  So will the Bills try and run the same type of game plan? I doubt it. So from the aspect of game planning, the Jets are almost going into this game blind.

Jets Offense Unknown

The Jets schematically will be doing basically the same as they have the last two years on defense, albeit with different personnel that we have seen the last two seasons. On offense, the Jets coordinator is John Morton, who came from New Orleans where he had a guy by the name of Drew Brees playing the quarterback position. With Josh McCown holding down the QB position for New York, the Bills can’t expect the Jets to be running anywhere close to the same offense the Saints have. This is also Morton’s first year as an offensive coordinator so there is no history of what he likes to do.

The Jets offensive line is very inexperienced on the right side.  On the left there is experience, but this is the first time that Kevin Beachum and James Carpenter have played together. There are two new starters at the wide receiver position and one (Jermaine Kearse) has only been with the Jets for a few days after coming over in a trade with Seattle.

Holding Down the Forte

The most experienced and productive player on the Jets offense is running back Matt Forte.  At one time was one of the better all-around running backs in football.  But now he’s coming off one of his least productive seasons and at 31, he has already has played nine years in the NFL.  That’s a lot for a running back.

Defensive New Yorkers

The Jets defense is another story as their front three in the base 3-4 is very talented but not deep after the starters. Ends Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson are as good as there is in the NFL. The outside linebacker position is athletic but inexperienced.  Inside the combination of Derron Lee and Demario Davis is athletic and instinctive.

The two starting safeties are the top two picks of the Jets in the last Draft. Both Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye leave college with strong resumes. While they could, and should, make some rookie mistakes, there is no doubt the duo is very talented. The two corners, Buster Skrine and Morris Claiborne are not that strong.

Greg’s Final Report

Looking at this game from the outside, I feel that on paper the Bills should win this game by at least 10 points. While the Bills roster is not exactly what Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane want at every position, they have more talent than the Jets and the added plus of playing at home give them a distinct advantage.


Greg Gabriel

Gabriel has spent most of his adult life as an evaluator for various NFL clubs. He started his career in 1991 working for the Buffalo Bills as a part time scout under dormer Bills Director of Player Personnel Norm Pollom. He left the Bills in June 1984 to become the Great Lakes area scout for National Football Scouting. Following the 1984 season, Gabriel joined the New York Giants as their Midwest area scout and was promoted to Director of Player Development in 1996. The Giants went to three Super Bowls and won two during Gabriel’s time with the club.

Following the Giants appearance versus the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV, Greg became Director of College Scouting for the Chicago Bears under General Manager Jerry Angelo. He held that position until June of 2010. During his time with Chicago, the Bears won three Division titles and the 2006 NFC Championship. In his nine Drafts with the Bears, the team drafted 12 future Pro Bowl performers such perennial Pro Bowler Matt Forte, Tommie Harris, Devin Hester, Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman.

In the 2012 – 2013 season, Gabriel was a consultant for the Philadelphia Eagles Scouting Department and has since done some small scouting roles for various NFL clubs.

Since leaving the NFL Gabriel has been a contributor for the National Football Post, the Bleacher Report and more recently Pro Football Weekly. He also is both a writer and contributor for WSCR (670the Score) in Chicago. The last three years he has authored the Pro Football Weekly Draft Guide.
Gabriel grew up in Amherst and is a 1974 graduate of Canisius College where he was a member of the football team. He and his wife Robin currently resides in the Chicago area.

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