Throughout the offseason, NewYorkJets.com reporters Eric Allen, Ethan Greenberg, Randy Lange, Caroline Hendershot and John Pullano will each give their predictions to a series of questions regarding this year's Jets.
Today's question: Which matchup is the one to watch Sunday vs. Bills?
EA: Zach Wilson and the Jets offense vs. the Bills defense. After four consecutive wins and three clean games, Wilson had a tough outing last Sunday with 3 INTs in the loss to the Patriots. But Wilson connected with WR Garrett Wilson 6 times for 115 yards — a yardage number that eclipsed their previous four games together combined. The QB also hit TE Tyler Conklin 6 times for 79 yards and 2 TDs. The Jets are adjusting on the fly with shuffling O-line pieces, season-ending injuries to OL Alijah Vera-Tucker and Breece Hall, and WR Corey Davis battling a knee ailment. The Bills lead the NFL in scoring defense (14 pts/g) and they are tied with the Jets for ninth in sacks (21) by rushing four and playing numbers in the defensive backfield. The Packers averaged 6.7 yards a carry against Buffalo, and the Jets could rely heavily on James Robinson and Michael Carter on Sunday while mixing in their shots. Quietly, the Jets are tied for second-most plays of 15+ yards with 63.
EG: The Jets CBs and the Bills WRs will be an exciting matchup, but I'm going with the Jets rushing offense and the Bills rush defense. The Green & White want to run the ball. In their four-game winning streak, the offense averaged 29.8 carries and 141.8 yards a game. The Jets average 17.3 carries and 70 yards in three losses this season. Buffalo has the NFL's No. 4 rush defense, allowing 95 yards per game. Before Week 8, the Bills had not allowed a running back to rush for more than 50 yards. Coming off a game when the Jets ran a season-low 15 times, I'd imagine Michael Carter, James Robinson and Ty Johnson could see an increased workload Sunday to help QB Zach Wilson, who will line up against the NFL's No. 9 passing defense and No. 1 scoring defense. Buffalo could be without All-Pro S Jordan Poyer (elbow), but a healthy dose of the run game would help the second-year QB against one of the NFL's best defenses.
RL: It'll be worth the price of admission to watch the Jets' secondary battling QB Josh Allen and WRs Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis. Diggs is in the top three in most NFL individual receiving categories. And Davis is emerging with games like Bills vs. Steelers when he grabbed a 98-yard catch-and-run 1:04 into the game, then added a 62-yard TD later in the first half. All the Jets DBs need to be on their toes, since Diggs and Davis can attack both corners and also weave and double-move their way through the deep middle to latch onto Allen's laser-guided long balls. The Bills are tied for fourth-most 20+ completions in the NFL and they're first in the average length of those 20+ passes, a gaudy 34.3 yards/catch. But the Jets are tied for fourth-fewest 20+ completions allowed, and they're fourth with 42 PDs. RCB D.J. Reed says he, Sauce Gardner and all the Jets DBs are up for it. "The secondary is playing really good," Reed said. "It's going to be a challenge but we're looking forward to it."
CH: The obvious matchup that will be exciting to watch is the Bills WR group against the Jets secondary. The Bills WR group is led by Stefon Diggs who is tied with a league-high 7 touchdowns and is second in receiving yards with 764 yards. WR Gabe Davis, who leads the league in yards per reception with 26.1 and has 4 receiving touchdowns this season is another deep threat the secondary will have to lockdown. On the flipside, the Jets secondary has risen to the occasion no matter which team they have faced this season. Sauce Gardner is tied for a league-high 12 PDs this season, while D.J. Reed has 6 PDs, 1 forced fumble, and 1 interception. According to Pro Football Focus, the Jets are the only team with two top-10 graded CBs this season. Sauce Gardner is at 85, which ranks fourth, and Reed has a rating of 79.3 which ranks him seventh. If the Jets secondary can control Diggs and Davis, it will help limit the Bills passing offense, which ranks first in the league.
JP: The obvious pick here is the Jets secondary vs. the Bills high-flying wideouts. But the Jets offensive tackles – LT Duane Brown and RT Cedric Ogbuehi – against Buffalo's defensive ends is only a step behind. DEs Von Miller and Gregory Rousseau have combined for 11 sacks this season, fifth most for a duo, and Rousseau – in his second season – has a career-high 5 sacks. They are a formidable pass-rush team, and the Bills are known to rotate through a deep group of pass-rushers – 4.5 sacks from backup outside rushers. The Jets tackles, however, have fared well against elite pass rushers this season. Pro Bowlers Matthew Judon, Bradley Chubb and Myles Garrett combined for 1 sack and 2 QB hits against the Jets this season and 20.5 sacks against the rest of their opposition. For the Jets to keep pace with the Bills' offense, averaging 29 points per game, QB Zach Wilson will need to be upright. The Jets tackles have proven they are up for the challenge.