It's time for the Jets to begin the second half of their 2021 season...well, pretty close to the second half. Nine-seventeenths, actually, with nine more games remaining in their new 17-game schedule. But coming off their mini-bye following their Thursday night game, this just feels like Round 2 for the Green and White.
And all they've got to do to kick things off with a bang is beat the Buffalo Bills.
Of course, that's not going to be easy, even at MetLife Stadium for the teams' first meeting of the season. In recent history, the Jets have lost their last three at home to Buffalo, although before that they had won 14 of 20 dating to 1998.
Then the Bills are one of the AFC's upper-echelon teams this year, ranking in the NFL's top 10 in a variety of offensive statistics and leading the league in a variety of defensive categories.
Yes, it's true that the Bills fell to 5-3 with their stunning, touchdown-less 9-6 loss at Jacksonville a week ago. But that could make the Thundering Herd from Western New York even more ornery these days than they would be with an AFC East matchup next on the docket against their longtime rivals from the early days of the AFL.
But the Jets, despite absorbing that difficult loss at Indianapolis 10 days ago, come into this game with the hopes of starting the second half off on the right foot.
Mike White's right arm is OK coming off his first-quarter-only exposure vs. the Colts and eager to replicate the Jets Nation happiness from his AFC Offensive Player of the Week passing line — 37 of 45 for 405 yards and three touchdowns — in the 34-31 MetLife win over the Bengals, now two weeks in the misty past.
See the Top Photos from Pregame Before Jets-Bills
White (backed up for the first time by veteran Joe Flacco) also gets a weapon he didn't have for Cincinnati. No. 1 wideout Corey Davis, returned from two games missed due to a hip injury, adds his skills to most of the WRs White did work with vs. Cincy — Jamison Crowder (eight catches, 84 yards), Elijah Moore (6-67), Keelan Cole and Braxton Berrios (TD reception). Fold in the YAC brothers in the backfield, Michael Carter and Ty Johnson, and it will be interesting to see if the Jets can dent the Bills' mighty defense, which will be without MLB Tremaine Edmunds (hamstring) and DT Star Lotulelei (reserve/COVID).
On the other side of the ball, it will also be intriguing to see if the Jets' D has rebounded from allowing 260 rushing yards, 532 total yards and six touchdowns (three rushing, three receiving) to the Colts. The Buffalo run game is good while its passing game is very good when QB Josh Allen is on and connecting with WRs Stefon Diggs, Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley and TE Dawson Knox, who actually leads the Bills with five TDs this year.
But the Jets' front four led by Quinnen Williams and its linebacking corps headed by C.J. Mosley and Jarrad Davis will attempt to lean on Allen, who in five career starts vs. the Jets has won three games but has also turned the ball over 10 times, either on stripsacks or rushes or center exchanges. And the Jets DBs will be waiting if the pressure brought to bear by Williams, John Franklin-Myers, Shaq Lawson and the group can provide the secondary with its first interception since Bryce Hall's pick in Game 14 last season at the Los Angeles Rams.
These are the Jets' six inactive players for Sunday's game, not including WR Denzel Mims and CB Jason Pinnock, who will miss the game on reserve/COVID, and T Chuma Edoga, who was placed on IR during the week:
- QB Zach Wilson
- RB La'Mical Perine
- S Elijah Riley
- DL Tim Ward
- OL Isaiah Williams
And this is the Bills' four-man inactive list:
- CB Cam Lewis
- LB Tremaine Edmunds
- OL Jamil Douglas
- DT Brandin Bryant