Here are my five takes on the Buffalo Bills' game against the New York Jets Sunday at MetLife Stadium:
1. Anthony Lynn makes the most of his "audition." His candidacy for the head-coaching job will likely not be based on the outcome of his one game as interim head coach.
However, Lynn can do plenty to enhance his status as the early favorite by showing team owners Terry and Kim Pegula and General Manager Doug Whaley how well he's able to manage a game. Known for his strong attention to detail, Lynn gathered with his coaching staff Thursday to review everyone's game-day responsibilities.
He is pouring in a tremendous amount of time and energy, knowing that the team plans to consider other candidates. He wants to do everything possible to remove any doubt about his readiness to be a head coach, whether it's with the Bills or another NFL team.
For Lynn, who is retaining his duties as offensive coordinator, there will be a major adjustment calling plays from the sidelines rather than from the coach's box, as he had done since becoming OC after the second game of the season. More than anything, the Bills must avoid a common problem with Rex Ryan as their head coach for the past 31 games: having too few or too many men on the field and other inexcusable blunders stemming from a loosely run team.
2. EJ Manuel and Cardale Jones play. The Bills want Manuel to play because they don't want to expose Tyrod Taylor, who faces possible offseason groin/sports hernia surgery, to any additional injury that could cause them to pay him $27.5 million even if he is injured next season.
The question is, how long should they play him? As long as they're treating the game like a preseason encounter, they might as well allow Jones to get some snaps, perhaps even allowing him to take over for the entire second half.
If there is going to be a parting of ways with Taylor before the March 11 deadline for the Bills to decide whether to pick up the option on Taylor's contract extension, the owners and Whaley might as well see what -- if any -- progress Jones has made.
3. Tackling probably won't get much better. The Bills have done a horrific job of tackling in allowing three 200-yard rushing performances this season.
Expecting it to improve against the Jets doesn't seem realistic. Think about it. There are 23 players who are due to become free agents, and more than half of them are on defense.
This game is going to be all about self-preservation, for the Jets as well.
4. Run, run, run, and run some more. This is one of those games that should go as quickly as possible.
Therefore, look for the Bills to do plenty of running. Same for the Jets.
These are two woeful teams that simply want to put the season out of its misery.
5. Happy New Year? I realize there's almost nothing for Bills fans to celebrate beyond the end of the season.
I'd like to tell you that things should be looking brighter in 2017, but based on the way things have unfolded for the better part of this month and especially the last few days, there is almost nothing to support that.
The organizational dysfunction appears to be as bad as it has been in a very long time. And for this franchise, that's saying a lot.