Coming off a season-high 11 tackles against the Vikings and an interception in the Jets first matchup with Buffalo earlier this season, S Jordan Whitehead is looking to continue that momentum and to help propel the Jets into the stretch run. Starting with a Week 14 rematch against the No. 1 seed in the AFC and the AFC East leading Bills.
"We have just got be on our keys a little bit more this week," Whitehead said. "It is hard to beat them twice. In those division games, it is going to be hard-nosed to the whistle."
Whitehead, 25, played a big role in the Jets 20-17 win at MetLife Stadium against the Bills in Week 9. After QB Josh Allen took the Bills to the Jets' 13-yard line in 2 plays on the opening drive, Whitehead halted their momentum with an interception.
Whitehead finished with game 2 pass defensed – most on the team – and 4 tackles to lead the Jets to a dominant defensive performance, holding the Bills to their lowest-point total of the season.
In the rematch, Whitehead expects the game plan to be similar for the teams and the margin for error even tighter.
"You definitely got to watch the game again because not too much is going to change," Whitehead said. "But again, they're planning for our game plan. So, whatever we did last week, or last time we played them they're probably studying a lot of that, and we have to be even more on our P's and Q's."
See the top photos from Wednesday's practice leading up to the Bills game.
In addition to a strong game Buffalo, Whitehead played one of best all-around games against the Vikings last week. Whitehead led the team in tackles and had 1 pass defense in the 27-22 defeat.
The starting safety is tied for No. 3 on the Jets in passes defended with 7 and No. 2 in tackles with 68. Whitehead has allowed a 64.4 passer rating in coverage, which is tied for fourth-best among qualified safeties.
He said he still has room to improve, but is happy with the way the defense surrendered 7 points in the second half to the 11-2 Vikings ahead of this week's game against the 9-3 Bills.
"I had a couple stops at the line and you know the big couple hits on Jefferson," Whitehead said. "I had a lot of good moments, but I am hard on myself."
Sunday will have playoff implications for the two teams. The Jets remain the AFC's 7th seed and remain 2 games behind of Buffalo for the division lead and top spot in the AFC.
Whitehead has experience playing important late-season games. In two seasons with the Buccaneers (2020-21), Tampa Bay won the NFC South once and Whitehead played 6 postseason games – including winning the Super Bowl at the end of the 2020 season.
He is prepared for the intense atmosphere of a game between teams in the playoff race.
"Every game is going to go down to the wire and every play matters," Whitehead said. "Even if you go down, you can't stop fighting. It's going to take everybody on the team. And one guy has got to step up their game. One guy in his locker room will have to make that big play to win."