Here are how my five takes before the Buffalo Bills' 21-12 victory against the New York Jets worked out:
1. This has the potential to be among the worst games of the Week One NFL schedule. Let's go half-check here. I'm not sure I'll call it the worst, but it hardly qualified as a work of football art. The Jets played like the tankers they are. They looked every bit like the worst team in the NFL, a category to which many pundits assigned them before the season.
The Bills were mostly solid, which was good enough to escape with a fairly comfortable win but probably wouldn't have allowed them to beat any of the better opponents remaining on their schedule. LeSean McCoy's running and receiving accounted for most of their offensive success, and their defense predictably limited the Jets' pathetic offense to 214 yards and intercept Josh McCown twice.
2. Although the Bills have turned over their roster considerably, they seem to have at least a slight talent edge. Nowhere will that likely be more apparent than in the matchup between their defensive front and the Jets' offensive line. Check.
The Bills kept McCown off-balance for much of the game with a mixture of coverages and pass-rush combinations, sacking him once on a safety blitz by Jordan Poyer. They also stuffed the Jets' running game, holding Bilal Powell and Matt Forte to a combined 38 yards on 13 carries, an average of three yards per rush.
Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus, Jerry Hughes, and Shaq Lawson pretty much controlled the line of scrimmage.
3. The Jets have a strong defensive front of their own, led by linemen Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams, and it was the primary reason the team ranked fourth in the NFL against the run. Still, it's reasonable to expect the Bills to have success with a heavy dose of LeSean McCoy's rushing on plenty of wide-zone stretch plays that will often cause the Jets' linemen to run laterally and eventually wear down. Check-plus!
McCoy finished with 110 rushing yards, and his cut backs and zig-zag runs did plenty to cause the Jets' big D-linemen to start sucking wind in the late stages of the game. He always seemed on the verge of going the distance, either as a runner or on some of his team-high five receptions for 49 yards. On one catch early in the game, McCoy started going to his right, then cut straight across to the other side before turning upfield for a 21-yard gain.
4. The Bills have to look like the sort of team that Sean McDermott's hiring was supposed to deliver. Check. Tyrod Taylor did throw an end-zone interception, after the ball deflected off the hands of Charles Clay, that could have caused a momentum shift at the end of the game's first drive. But it didn't. Stephen Hauschka was wide left on a 46-yard field-goal attempt that also could have had a dispiriting impact on the Bills. That didn't happen, either.
The Bills looked surprisingly sharp and disciplined through the majority of the game. They had seven penalties called against them, six of which were accepted for minus-50 yards to the Jets' five accepted penalties for minus-62 yards. It's fair to say that they didn't do a whole lot of self-destructing, but let's not forget who the opponent was.
5. The secondary that was blown up and reconstructed from scratch has to avoid unraveling out of the gate. Check-plus. This group held up exceptionally well, given that is the product of a total reconstruction.
Poyer and fellow safety Micah Hyde each had an interception, with Hyde's sealing the victory with 1:35 remaining. As expected, the Jets picked on rookie cornerback Tre'Davious White, but he held up reasonably well and nearly had an interception.
Credit defensive backs coach Gill Byrd and assistant DBs coach Bobby Babich with having this group ready to play its best out of the gate.