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Thursday Night Bills Preview for November 12, 2015 November 12, 2015

Posted by tomflesher in Football, Sports.
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Randy Bullock, during happier times

Randy Bullock, during happier times

Tonight, the Bills take the field on CBS in a crucial division game. The Jets (5-3) are currently the #1 wildcard in the AFC, while the Bills (4-4) are one slot behind them, leading the also-rans behind the #2 wildcard Steelers. It’s …. not inconceivable that the Bills could take the AFC East, but it would require them to overtake the 8-0 Patriots; much easier to just knock out the Jets.

In 8 games, the Jets have an overall score of 200-162 for a point differential of 38 and an average margin of victory of 4.8 points. (Pro Football Reference uses ‘margin of victory’ as differential/games, so toting up just the victories would give a larger number.) The Bills, meanwhile, have outscored their opponents 209-190, for a point differential of 19 and a margin of victory of 2.4 points. The Bills are 10th in the NFL for points scored, but as far as the AFC, no team with a record above .500 has allowed more points. (Only the Giants have allowed more points and have a winning record; the Falcons are 6-3 and match the Bills’ 190 points exactly. Each of those teams has played one more game than the Bills.)

One recent development that leans strongly in favor of the Bills is the loss of kicker Nick Folk. 25-year-old punter Ryan Quigley kicked four extra points, but he’s never so much as attempted a field goal. The Jets signed freely available talent Randy Bullock, who was waived by Houston after missing 2 of 5 extra point attempts and missing a key field goal in the second quarter against Tampa Bay. Though the Texans won the game, he missed that kick when they were down 9-7 with 1:35 left in the half; that had to be demoralizing.

Folk wasn’t exactly lights out either – he’d missed field goals of 40, 48, and 49 yards this season. The Jets have been quite reliant on their kicking game, though – 48 of their 200 points have come from field goals, and 19 from extra point tries. The Bills, in contrast, have made 22 of 23 extra point attempts and 9 of 11 field goals, having scored fewer points off kicker Dan Carpenter and more points overall than the Jets. The Bills have 11 rushing touchdowns and 13 receiving, as opposed to the Jets’ 8 rushing TDs and 15 receiving.

If the Bills’ defense can take advantage of the loss of a reliable kicker and force the Jets to keep the ball on the ground, this game is very winnable.

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