The running game is the only cause for optimism in yet another otherwise dismal season for the Buffalo Bills.
Their strength at the position is thanks to an intriguing battle between a dependable, late-blooming veteran and a spectacular, yet inconsistent, young upstart.
Playing the role of experienced hand is 31-year-old Fred Jackson. Since 2009, Jackson has been the lone bright spot for a Bills' team short on solid, playmaking talent.
In 2009 he eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the first time and followed it up with two seasons posting over 900 yards. It's that level of consistency which defines Jackson as a player.
He has established a niche as a reliable between-the-tackles runner. Jackson runs with deceptive initial quickness and above-average power.
The six-year pro is the kind of workhorse a coach can trust in clutch situations. Yet as good as Jackson has been, he is facing increasingly intense competition from fleet-footed youngster C.J. Spiller.
The Bills have been long noted for their inconsistencies and struggles on both sides of the ball. But their brighter spots lie on offense, where they have arguably the best running back tandem in both Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller. Both have proved themselves dynamic playmakers when given the opportunity in a featured role.
But, getting them their touches to succeed when both backs are healthy is another thing entirely. It cuts both of their production ability in half, and both need to be on the field as much as possible to achieve maximum success. But, for Buffalo, the question now becomes, which back should be the featured back in this offense. Let's take a look at both running backs in a nutshell.
St Louis Rams vs Miami Dolphins: MIA -3
Despite the Miami Dolphins competitive start to the season, the markets are increasingly respecting the St Louis Rams. Back in the offseason Vegas had the Dolphins favored -4.5 in this game. Before Week 5, it was adjusted to -3.5 in the look-ahead line. As of today, it's sitting at -3.25 thanks to early money coming in on the Rams. This essentially means we can grab -3 at an affordable price.
I understand the love for St Louis because not many people were higher on them entering the season than I was, but I don't think the early money on them can be justified statistically or situationally.
Before I get to the X's and O's, let's consider how the Rams play at home vs on the road. They have three wins at home over the Seahawks, Cardinals, and Redskins. When they travel, they've lost to the Bears and Lions.
The New York Jets are in desperate need of a wide receiver at this point in the season and what better person to fill that void than Terrell Owens.
Owens made his pitch to the Jets through his Twitter account mentioning his interest in playing for the team.
"Hey JETS!!! I'm available! I'm ready, willing & able! Call my agent @jordanwoy & let's make it happen."
It might seem like far too little too late for New York, but is it really?
Waking up this morning after a tough loss to the Texans on Monday Night Football, the Jets find themselves but one game behind the New England Patriots for the division lead. As bad as things have gone thus far in the 2012 season, the Jets are nowhere near done.
The loss of Santonio Holmes was a huge blow for the team being that No. 10 was far and away their best receiver. On top of that, injuries to Dustin Keller and Stephen Hill have further crippled this team's receiving corps and made it much tougher for an already struggling Mark Sanchez.
Friday night the New York Jets kicked off their preseason against the Cincinnati Bengals. The game featured various story lines, such as Tim Tebow's highly anticipated debut at quarterback, fan's first look at Tony Sporano's new offensive system, as well as the Jets new 4-3 defensive scheme.
As expected both offenses initially sputtered out of the gate and had trouble sustaining drives, and the defenses took some time to settle into their assignments. There were pleasant surprises, issues that need to be addressed, and plenty to take away from the game when it was all said and done.
Pertaining to Mark Sanchez, he had a respectable night. He finished 4 of 6 for 21 yards, with no touchdowns or interceptions, and 4 yards rushing. Although he only played the first quarter, Sanchez appeared to have a good control of the offense. New York was in and out of their huddles quickly and had no confusion in getting to where they needed to be. He was efficient going through his reads and was decisive, making sure he got the ball out of his hands quickly.