Stopping the Stampede
The Bills' high-powered offense, led by QB Josh Allen and WR Stefon Diggs, was slowed by the Jets in the 2022 season. Buffalo had the No. 2 offense and averaged 397.6 yards per game. It also ranked second with 28.4 points per game and led the league on third-down percentage at 50.3%. Against the Jets, those numbers dipped to 313 total yards, 18.5 points and 38.4%.
Allen combined for 352 passing yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions – he did have 3 rushing touchdowns – and Diggs totaled 8 catches for 130 yards and 0 touchdowns.
"They're a really good group," Allen said Wednesday of the Jets defense. "They have rushers who have motors, they sub those guys in and out, so they're fresh. The DBs are smart. I know No. 1 [Sauce Gardner] is a great player, he gets a lot of credit. I think No. 4 [D.J. Reed] is also pretty dang good. They gameplan pretty well for us the last couple times we played them and we're going to have our hands full Monday night."
How Many Cooks in the Kitchen?
There are 17 Jets who could make their debut Monday night. While there's none bigger than Aaron Rodgers, four-time Pro Bowl RB Dalvin Cook, coming off a season where he ran for 1,173 yards and 8 touchdowns, will also take his first snaps for a different team for the first time in his career.
"I think the matchup is going to be great," said Cook, who ran for 119 yards against Buffalo last season and had an 81-yard touchdown. "The atmosphere is going to be what we need it to be. It's going to be my second time playing at MetLife ever in my career. It's going to be fun, man. I'm looking forward to it. The hype is there for us and I'm just looking forward to the guys putting it on the grass Monday. For me, I'm just looking for another opportunity to go out and prove who Dalvin Cook and what the team is made of. I see it everyday out of the guys working, how we approach it, so I'm looking forward to seeing us go compete."
See the top photos of the Jets during Tuesday's practice of Bills week leading up to the 2023 season-opener.
Cook has been a full-go in practice leading up to the season opener and will share a backfield with a couple running backs including second-year player Breece Hall, who is returning from an ACL injury.
"I don't know if I want to call it a snap count, but we're going to be smart with him," HC Robert Saleh said about Hall. "We'll continue to evaluate and build up what we think Monday needs to be, but it's not that we're putting a snap count on it."
Stout Up Front
The Bills will be without All-Pro pass rusher Von Miller (PUP), but they have a strong defensive line with depth that will test a Jets O-line that did not play its starting five in a game this preseason. Monday will be the first game that Duane Brown will play in 2023. Brown, a five-time Pro Bowl selection, worked his way back from a shoulder injury throughout training camp and the preseason. He and the rest of the line will help protect Aaron Rodgers from edge rushers like Gregory Rousseau, who co-led the team with 8 sacks and A.J. Epenesa (6). Buffalo added Leonard Floyd, who had 9 sacks last season with the Rams.
"They have guys who are going to present some challenges for us, but we're familiar with them," Brown said. "We gave them some good games last year. We know each other very well. It's going to be a very electric atmosphere on 9/11 with the 22nd anniversary. It's going to be an emotional day, an emotional night. Just a lot of energy and it's going to be exciting. We have to start fast and finish strong."