Today let’s take a look at the Jets’ keys to victory, x-factors, and biggest matchups to watch.
6 Notes Heading into Jets vs Bills
Jets Offensive Key: Establish The Run
Even though the biggest storyline going into this game is Aaron Rodgers, Garrett Wilson, and the Jets passing offense, the run game is extremely important. The Jets’ run game will include a one-two punch of Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook. The third and fourth options in the run game will include Michael Carter and Israel Abinakanda. With Hall being limited to start the season, Cook, Carter, and “Izzy” will all need to step up.
Last season when the Jets ran well, they won games, and the stats back it up, especially in the Week 9 matchup against the Bills. The Jets were 5-1 in games where they rushed for over 100 yards and one of those games was at home against Buffalo. The Jets’ 20-17 victory last year against the Bills was led by the run game, rushing for over 170 yards and a touchdown. However, the second time the Jets and Bills met last season, the Jets rushed for 76 yards and 71 of those came from Zonovan Knight who is no longer on the team.
Even with the change at quarterback — which is a huge boost to this offense — the Jets run game is still one of the most important pieces to this team. After a summer full of shuffling the offensive line, the Jets will roll out a healthy offensive line to help this run game.
Jets Defensive Key: Get Pressure on Josh Allen
The Jets’ defense enters the season as one of the best in football after finishing fourth overall in the NFL last year in total defense. One of the biggest reasons for their success is their defensive line, one of the deepest rooms in football. Getting pressure Monday Night on Josh Allen would go a long way in getting the win.
The Jets finished top 10 in the NFL in sacks with 45. That was led by Quinnen Williams who had a career-high 12 sacks last season. Similar to when the Jets have success running they win games they also have success winning when they get to the quarterback. Also, during their 20-17 win over Buffalo last year, the Jets were able to sack Josh Allen five times and added a total of 8 QB hits. The Jets on paper match up well with the Bills offensive line which is a weakness for Buffalo.
Quinnen Williams, Jermaine Johnson, Bryce Huff, and the entire defensive line rotation will need to step up big. Not only does it change momentum on the field but there is also nothing better than the roar of the crowd after a big sack in a big moment.
Jets Offensive X-Factor: Offensive Line
When it comes to the NFL often games are won and lost in the trenches, especially in divisional matchups. When looking back at what was one of the best offseasons the Jets have had the one concern throughout was the offensive line, specifically the health of the line. After an up-and-down offseason for the offensive line the Jets have got their best starting five and to win the Jets will need this to be one of their best units on the field.
The Jets will face off against a Von Miller-less defensive line for the Bills which is a tough blow for Buffalo however, they still have some solid pieces. These pieces include Gregory Rousseau and the newly signed Leonard Floyd. The offensive line must produce both in pass protection and run blocking.
An under-the-radar factor to include is Rodgers will get the ball out a lot quicker which benefits the offensive line. Either way, the bottom line is Rodgers needs to have time in the pocket to get the ball to his weapons and it starts with the guys up front setting the tone.
Jets Defensive X-Factor: Linebackers
One of the most underrated aspects going into this game is how the Jets linebackers will fare in coverage. This group is headlined by five-time Pro Bowler, C.J. Mosley, who has had back-to-back productive seasons finishing top 10 in tackles. Mosley is also the Jets’ best linebacker in coverage, allowing a passer rating when targeted of 83.0 last year.
While Quincy Williams is a really solid piece with his sideline-to-sideline speed, his coverage is the weakness of his game. Jamien Sherwood, who is filling out the final spot at linebacker, is very inexperienced. This group as a whole struggled last year in coverage against running backs and tight ends. Expect the Bills to run a lot of 12-personnel with Dawson Knox and rookie Dalton Kincaid out of Utah.
This group must step up in a big way, Allen and company for Buffalo are going to try and attack the Jets linebackers with two tight end sets. If the Jets can take away the Bills’ tight end threat it will go a long way in winning this matchup.
Jets Offensive Matchup To Watch: Garrett Wilson vs Tre’Davious White
This game certainly doesn’t lack any big-time matchups when it comes to receivers against cornerbacks. This matchup is a battle between second-year wideout Garrett Wilson and seventh-year corner Tre’Davious White. Last year was completely different for both of these players. Wilson went on to win Offensive Rookie of the Year while White only played six games due to recovery from a torn ACL he suffered in 2021.
With Rodgers at quarterback, the potential for Wilson this upcoming season is through the roof. As for Tre’Davious White, he is trying to regain his footing after only playing 17 games in the last two seasons combined. White will look to regain his prime 2017-2020 form before the ACL injury while Garrett Wilson will look to start his first season with Rodgers on a high note.
Jets Defensive Matchup To Watch: Sauce Gardner vs Stefon Diggs
A battle between arguably the two best players at their positions corner Sauce Gardner and wideout Stefon Diggs. Can’t ask for a better matchup than this to open up the season for both teams. Both players are coming off big seasons last year. For Diggs, he ranked fifth in the NFL in receiving yards with 1,429, and Gardner led the league in passes defended with 20.
After some drama in the offseason, Diggs will look to start hot with Allen to open up the 2023 campaign. Diggs has been a pro bowler in each of his three seasons in Buffalo. As for Sauce, he looks to build on his dominant rookie year where he shut down some of the league’s best wideouts.
Jets win 27-23.
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