JETS VS. BILLS

SUN­DAY, 1 P.M. ET, NEW ERA FIELD, OR­CHARD PARK, N.Y.

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - NL WEST - Bowles Josh McCown Chris­tian Hack­en­berg Bryce Petty Ja­mal Adams About the Bills: Sean McDer­mott, Todd Mar­cus Maye. Nathan Peter­man Ty­rod Tay­lor Jor­dan Matthews LeSean McCoy. Matchup to watch: Bills DT Mar­cell Dareus vs. Jets C Wes­ley John­son. Pow­ell, Ma

An­nounc­ers: Kevin Har­lan, Rich Gannon, Steve Tasker

About the Jets: Af­ter plum­met­ing from a 10-6 record to 5-11 last sea­son, the Jets jet­ti­soned sev­eral ag­ing vet­er­ans and are in to­tal re­build mode. There could be a dozen new starters in the lineup for the opener, with eight of them in ei­ther their first or sec­ond sea­sons. De­spite the youth move­ment, coach has cho­sen 15th-year jour­ney­man QB

to run the of­fense af­ter sec- ond-year QB bombed out and third-year QB was in­jured in pre­sea­son. McCown, 38, will be play­ing for his eighth NFL team. To shore up a de­fense that al­lowed 30 touch­down passes while com­ing up with eight in­ter­cep­tions, the Jets will start their top two draft picks, SS and FS Un­der rookie head coach Buf­falo also is build­ing for the fu­ture and could field a dozen new starters, in­clud­ing rookie QB if third-year start­ing QB re­mains in con­cus­sion pro­to­col. In the pre­sea­son, the Bills traded gifted but of­ten in­jured WR Sammy Watkins, third-year start­ing CB Ron Darby and their 2016 sec­ond-round pick, MLB Reg­gie Ragland. McDer­mott is hop­ing a switch to a 4-3 align­ment will boost a Bills de­fense that slipped from fourth over­all in 2014 to 19th in each of Rex Ryan’s two sea­sons as head coach. Tay­lor signed a team-friendly con­tract ex­ten­sion, but se­ri­ous doubts re­main about his abil­ity to be­come a franchise sig­nal-caller. Re­cently ac­quired WR the team’s only ex­pe­ri­enced wide­out, but Tay­lor does still have RB is LeSean McCoy had 1,623 yards from scrim­mage with 14 TDs in 2016.

Dareus has been an enigma, an im­mensely tal­ented in­te­rior line­man who has been ham­pered by in­juries and off-field prob­lems. McDer­mott sent him home for vi­o­lat­ing team rules be­fore Game 3 of the pre­sea­son. The coach is hope­ful his two-time Pro Bowler gets the mes­sage and takes ad­van­tage of John­son, a fourth-year pro who faces the un­en­vi­able task of try­ing to fill

WHO WILL WIN AND WHY

1. The Real McCoy: Given Tay­lor’s strug­gles and his in­ex­pe­ri­enced re­ceiv­ing corps, the Bills are ex­pected to give McCoy a heavy diet of hand­offs and short passes.

2. One-two combo: Like Buf­falo, the Jets will try to stay grounded with hand­offs and swing passes to RB and RB

who com­bined for 2,186 yards from scrim­mage and 13 touch­downs in 2016.

3. Sec­ondary is pri­mary: The Jets have two rookie safeties. The Bills will field four new starters in their sec­ondary. So both quar­ter­backs might at­tempt to test the new­bies with a few deep throws.

The Jets will count on WR whom they re­cently ac­quired from the Seat­tle Sea­hawks, while the Bills will tar­get Matthews, the former Philadel­phia Ea­gles wide­out who has been limited by a ch­est in­jury since join­ing the team three weeks ago.

Scott Pi­to­niak

ERIC HARTLINE, USA TO­DAY SPORTS

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