Nothing at stake for playoff-bound Bills in finale vs. Jets

Field Level Media

December 26, 2019 at 5:29 am.

The Buffalo Bills and New York Jets will end the regular season Sunday in Orchard Park, N.Y., the way they started it — facing each other.

And few could foretell just how meaningful that contest in September would be.

Buffalo trailed the Jets 16-0 in Week 1 before pulling out a 17-16 win. The Bills are now 10-5 and have clinched a wild card in the playoffs that start next week. Instead of needing a win to get in, the Bills have cemented the No. 5 seed in the AFC, regardless of their Sunday result.

However, that means little to Buffalo coach Sean McDermott, who announced that a “majority” of the team’s starters — including quarterback Josh Allen — would play against the Jets.

“They’re not all going to play the same amount in the game,” McDermott said Tuesday. “We’re going to be smart with that, but it’s important that we get work in fundamentally and in terms of execution and we stay as sharp as can be.”

The Bills looked hapless against the new-look Jets and first-year coach Adam Gase in Week 1, failing to score until 3:48 remained in the third quarter.

But Allen recovered from committing four first-half turnovers — two fumbles and two interceptions, including a pick-six — to engineer the comeback.

The win propelled the Bills to a 3-0 start, and now they are playoff-bound thanks to a Week 15 win at Pittsburgh.

The Bills are coming off a 24-17 loss at New England last week that decided the AFC East. Buffalo owned a 17-13 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but Tom Brady led the Patriots to a game-deciding touchdown with 5:06 remaining to lock up the division title.

As for Gase and the Jets, the Week 1 loss was the first of four straight defeats to start the season. The Jets would lose another three in a row after a win over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6.

However, the Jets are 5-2 since Nov. 10 and are coming off a 16-10 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday.

The Jets know what might have been if they had sealed the deal in Week 1.

“We (are) coming after them,” safety Jamal Adams said. “It’s a playoff game for us. We’re looking forward to the matchup, I can tell you that.”

Adams is listed as questionable due to an ankle injury and was limited in practice Wednesday. Cornerback Nate Hairston (illness) sat out Wednesday.

Buffalo wide receiver Andre Roberts (foot) was as a non-participant in practice on Wednesday, and defensive end Shaq Lawson (hamstring) also skipped the session with an injury sustained against the Patriots in Week 16.

Allen has been the better of the second-year quarterbacks for each team, compiling a 3,000-yard season with 20 touchdowns against nine interceptions. He has also rushed for 510 yards and nine touchdowns.

Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, who missed a month of Sundays with mononucleosis, has thrown for 2,825 yards with 18 touchdowns and 12 picks in his second offensive scheme in as many years.