Dissecting Best Individual Matchups to Watch in New York Jets' Week 3 Action

Aidan MackieSenior Analyst IApril 12, 2017

Sep 12, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie (31) prior to a game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

After two surprisingly solid performances in the first two weeks of the 2013 season, the New York Jets get their easiest matchup to date against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. 

The Bills, despite also performing well in their first two contests, possess a rookie quarterback and a shaky defensive unit. The Jets are, and rightly should be, the favorites in the game. 

A win would be huge for New York, as it would catapult the team to an early 2-1 record and build confidence within the young squad. 

To get the victory, though, the Jets need to win several key individual matchups. 


C.J. Spiller vs. Jets Front Seven

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 09:   C.J. Spiller #28 of the Buffalo Bills runs against the New York Jets during their season opener at MetLife Stadium on September 9, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

C.J. Spiller hasn't been as explosive as his 2012 self in the first two games of this season, but the former first-round pick is still a matchup nightmare for New York. 

In two games against the Jets last year, Spiller compiled a ridiculous 325 total yards and two touchdowns. New York just couldn't stop the speedster. 

The Jets run defense has improved substantially since last season, though. The front seven is among one of the stoutest in the league, as young, explosive playmakers Muhammad Wilkerson, Demario Davis and Sheldon Richardson have managed to continually get push up front. 

Through two games, New York ranks fourth in the NFL in rush defense. The unit has held premier running backs Doug Martin and Stevan Ridley to just 59.5 yards per game thus far. 

Spiller is a beast, but the Jets front seven could win this matchup. 


Stevie Johnson vs. Antonio Cromartie

Dec 30, 2012; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Steve Johnson (13) leaps for a catch as New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie (31) defends during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 28-9. Mandatory Credit: Ke

Antonio Cromartie was an absolute stud in Darrelle Revis' stead last season, but he hasn't been the premier corner he was in 2012 through two weeks. 

Cromartie allowed Vincent Jackson to top the 100-yard mark, and he was continually beaten downfield by young New England receivers Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson. 

Now, Cromartie matches up with the underrated Stevie Johnson. Johnson, who has topped the 1,000-yard mark in three consecutive seasons, has built a solid rapport with rookie signal-caller EJ Manuel

Johnson has caught a touchdown pass in each of Buffalo's first two contests, and he went over 100 yards against a solid Panthers defense last week. 

Cromartie and Johnson's matchup could decide what the Bills can and cannot do on offense. If Cromartie can handle Johnson one-on-one, New York could have the luxury of stacking the box and containing CJ Spiller. 

That could severely hamper the Bills' ability to move the ball. 


Mario Williams vs. Austin Howard

Mario Williams' first season with the Bills was largely a disappointment, as the former first overall pick was consistently inconsistent as a pass-rusher. 

However, Williams seems to have found his groove early on this year, as the defensive end is coming off arguably the finest game of his career.

The former Texan recorded a staggering 4.5 sacks against the Panthers in Week 2. 

Austin Howard has developed into a solid right tackle, but he will certainly have his work cut out for him Sunday. If Williams can have his way with Howard, it could be a very long day for Geno Smith and Co. 


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