East Rutherford, N.J. — After the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets drafted quarterbacks Josh Allen and Sam Darnold four picks apart in this year’s NFL draft, fans of the rival AFC East squads probably thought this Sunday’s game was going to be the first of many duels between the rookies.
No such luck.
Darnold has already been ruled out with a foot injury and Allen has been throwing for just a week after missing three starts with a sprained elbow.
Bills coach Sean McDermott isn’t closing the door on Allen getting back in the lineup Sunday. He announced Friday that Derek Anderson wouldn’t play this week as he remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol. When asked if Nathan Peterman would get another start if Allen wasn’t ready, McDermott avoided the question and chose to keep the focus on Allen.
Matt Barkley has been with the Bills for just two weeks but he may be a more likely option at quarterback if Allen can’t play. The former USC standout spent time after practice this week working with Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and said that he, Allen and Peterman all took equal reps with the first team offense this week. All three are preparing like they’re going to play.
The Jets start veteran Josh McCown at quarterback and in his first game back behind center he’ll face the NFL’s third-ranked defense, which is only allowing 212 passing yards per game.
After a seven-sack performance against the Houston Texans in Week 6 the Bills defense hasn’t been getting to the quarterback with regularity recently. Buffalo has just three sacks total in their last three games after being close to the top of the league in sacks early in the season. Against McCown and a struggling Jets offensive line that has allowed 21 sacks this season, the Bills defense could get home on the quarterback in Week 10.
Bills running back LeSean McCoy spoke on Friday about his struggles and this season. He’s rushed for just 24 yards on his last 24 carries and he is hoping he gets back on track this week as he continues his pursuit of 12,000 yards with his career winding down.
The Bills are a seven-point underdog on the road in New York.