1. Willis loves New York
Playing the Jets seems to bring out the best in RB Willis McGahee. He's averaging 134.5 yards in the last four meetings, including a career-high 150 yards in the Jets' victory on Sept. 24. He's also averaging 28.5 carries in those games. A sore ankle might force him to share the workload with Anthony Thomas. . . . The Jets are getting more comfortable in Eric Mangini's 3-4 defense, but they still struggle to stop the run. They need NT Dewayne Robertson to clog the middle and LBs Jonathan Vilma and Victor Hobson must shut off the outside runs.
2. Which J.P. will we see?
After two good games, QB J.P. Losman had several erratic moments last week. He had his first career 300-yard passing game against the Jets in the earlier meeting, but had three costly turnovers. The Bills would prefer more of the former and less of the latter today. . . . In the last meeting, the Jets had no answer for WRs Lee Evans and Roscoe Parrish, who both had 100-yard games. With the focus on Evans, look for Buffalo to isolate Parrish or Josh Reed on journeyman CB Hank Poteat, who struggles in man coverage. . . . The Jets need a pass rush from DE/OLB Bryan Thomas (career-high 6 1/2 sacks). Jets S Kerry Rhodes, who forced fumbles on two sacks of Losman in the first meeting, is dangerous on back-side blitzes.
3. Pennington spreads the wealth.
Jets QB Chad Pennington (203.1 yards per game) bounced back from a midseason slump with two strong games. He frustrates pass rushers by getting rid of the ball quickly. . . . WR Laveranues Coles is the NFL's third-leading receiver with 71 catches (for 854 yards). The emergence of third-year WR Jericho Cotchery (60 catches for 765 yards and 5 TDs) has given the passing game a huge lift. TE Chris Baker and RB Leon Washington are key targets as well. . . . Look for Pennington to use three-step drops and quick, short- to medium-range passes to negate the Bills' pass rush.
4. Running back by committee.
The Jets haven't settled on a featured runner. They will continue to split carries with Washington, Cedric Houston (105 yards and 2 TDs last week) and Kevan Barlow. Washington is the best of the three because of his speed and low center of gravity. . . . With Bills LB Angelo Crowell (broken leg) out, the Jets will test undersized backups Coy Wire and Keith Ellison. The Jets should exploit Buffalo's weakness against counter plays, which involve pulling the offside guard to create extra blockers at the point of attack. . . . Look out for Jets WR Brad Smith, a former running QB, on reverses.
5. Dueling kick returners.
This could be the Super Bowl of kickoff return specialists. The Jets' Justin Miller leads the NFL with a 29-yard average and two touchdowns. Buffalo's Terrence McGee is third in the league at 26.8 yards per return. . . . Buffalo's Brian Moorman and the Jets' Ben Graham are terrific punters. K Rian Lindell has been solid, while Jets K Mike Nugent has made seven straight field goals, including a 54-yarder.
Prediction: A win keeps the Jets' playoff hopes alive. A loss ends the Bills' chances. Jets, 20-19.