Throughout the offseason, NewYorkJets.com reporters Eric Allen, Ethan Greenberg, Randy Lange, Caroline Hendershot and John Pullano will give their responses to a series of questions regarding this year's Jets.
Today's question: What's changed since the Jets-Bills Week 1 matchup?
EA: The Bills have absorbed serious hits on defense, losing the unit's best defensive player (LB Matt Milano), its best interior performer (DaQuan Jones) and top cornerback (Trey White). While the Jets only had QB Aaron Rodgers for 4 offensive snaps, their right side of the offensive line has endured numerous changes due to injury. Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall continue to be the workhorses, but the Jets are working more young players into the rotation including Xavier Gipson, and second-year TE Jeremy Ruckert could see more time. Rookie RB Isarael "Izzy" Abanikanda will make his pro debut Sunday in Western New York. The Bills (5-5) made a bold move this week, firing Ken Dosey and promoting Joe Brady to offensive signal-caller. HCSean McDermott is hoping a change can get help put a supercharge into QBJosh Allen & Co. Allen, who is completing 70.3% of his passes, leads the NFL in both total touchdowns (26) and giveaways (14). It was the Jets that started Allen's season off with a 4-takeaway effort in their 22-16 OT win in Week 1. The Jets have historically played Allen well and the Bills' five losses have all been by 6 points or fewer. Much has changed with both clubs, but this game has close written all over it.
EG: A lot has changed, but the biggest personnel changes have come on Buffalo's defense. CB Tre'Davious White and LB Matt Milano, both starters, are out for the season with injuries. Pass rusher Von Miller, who did not play in Week 1 as he recovered from an ACL injury, is now back in Buffalo's rotation. Miller has played the last six games and is still waiting for his first sack of the 2023 season. A more recent change for the Bills is their offensive coordinator. They fired Ken Dorsey after Monday night's 24-22 loss to the Broncos and Joe Brady, the team's QB coach for the last two seasons, will take over astplay-caller. From a Jets perspective, the biggest change is the team's O-line. The Jets played, from left to right, Duane Brown, Laken Tomlinson, Connor McGovern,Alijah Vera-Tucker and Mekhi Becton in Week 1. McGovern and Vera-Tucker (out for the season) are on injured reserve, Becton has played the last seven games at LT and Brown hasn't played since Week 2.
RL:One thing that changed drastically is the QB announced before the game as the Jets starter. Aaron Rodgers then went down four plays in for the season or at least a great portion of it. OK, that's cheating a little. But for the Bills, the big change was at OC, where the Bills switched from Ken Dorsey to their QBs coach, Joe Brady, who was the Carolina OC the previous two seasons. What will the "new" Buffalo offense look like? It won't be completely different from previous weeks but the Jets defense needs to be ready for the unexpected. One other thing that could be different is the old foes' relative positions in the AFC East standings. The Jets are 4-5, Buffalo 5-5. A Jets win at Highmark Stadium on Sunday would lift them over the Bills for the first time in a Week 11 since 2013. C.J. Mosley said he doesn't intend to be sitting on his couch in January. If he and his teammates and coaches truly believe that, the Jets' first sweep of the Bills since '16 would be a most welcome change for the Green & White and a big step in that direction.
CH:The biggest difference since the Week 1 matchup between the Jets and the Bills is someone who wasn't a full participant. That's Breece Hall. In week 1, Hall was coming off his ACL injury and was limited in snaps by the Jets coaching staff. Hall had only 10 carries for 127 yards on just 17 snaps. His longest carry came in the second quarter with an 83-yard run, which is still the longest in the NFL this season. Buffalo ranks middle of the pack at 19th in rushing yards allowed per game but rank 29th in yards per rush with 4.6. Hall currently ranks 10th in yards per carry with 4.9, which means if he shakes free, he could be in the endzone. Since entering the league in 2022, Hall ranks fifth in percentage of explosive runs (gain of 12-plus yards) and explosive plays (receptions of 16-plusyards) according to TruMedia. I think that is the Jets' biggest threat going into this game. While Buffalo may try to shut Hall down, it may have a hard time doing so.
JP: The most substantial difference from Week 1 to Week 11 in the Jets-Bills matchup will be the injuries to Buffalo's secondary. In the Jets' 22-16 win on Sept. 11, the Bills started cornerbacks Taron Johnson, All-Pro Tre'Davious White, Christian Benford, and All-Pro safeties Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde. Since, White, promising young CB Kaiir Elam and Pro Bowl LB Matt Milano have been placed on injured reserve and Benford and Hyde missed last Monday's loss to Denver. Against the Broncos, the Bills started cornerbacks Rasul Douglas – whom they traded for from the Packers in Week 10 – Dane Jackson, and safeties Taylor Rapp and Poyer. Last season's No. 7 secondary in yards allowed and No. 4 in interceptions now ranks a middling 16th in each category. On Wednesday's injury report, Benford, Hyde and CB Cam Lewis were listed as limited in practice. Jets QB Zach Wilson was decent in Week 1 completing 14-of-21 throws for 140 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception, but with 3 starters potentially missing in Buffalo's secondary from their initial matchup, the Jets will have an opportunity to attack a defensive back group that is thin and lacks continuity.