A new weekly series for us at TOJ, where every Wednesday or Thursday before kickoff, we will (I will) tell you three things you need to be aware of about the upcoming New York Jets matchup.
Let’s kick things off with our table smashing friends from the northern part of the state…
1 – This Game Means More Than It Should
I don’t want to be dramatic hot take guy here in September but don’t the Jets kind of have to win this game? If they lose, they staring at five straight games where they are likely to be underdogs from a point spread perspective (and will be definitely be underdogs if they lose week 1).
As it stands today, you would guess they will be +2 or +3 against Cleveland, +6 in New England, +6 in Philadelphia, +2 or +3 versus Dallas and +3 or +4 versus New England. Put that aside, Buffalo is likely to be of the teams the Jets will theoretically be competing with for a wild card spot. You don’t want to start 0-1 in the division with two games left against New England and a trip to Buffalo when it will be negative 87 degrees in late December.
Beyond that, this is Sam Darnold – our Sam Darnold – at home against Josh Allen…his best friend who also happens to be the running back who occasionally tosses the ball around for the Bills, The “Sam Second Year Leap” Campaign can’t start with a home loss to this guy. Think of our Twitter mentions, please.
2 -The Buffalo Offseason Changes That Matter
The Bills revamped their offense around Allen by adding an extremely high volume of players, particularly on the offensive line. How many of those players will actually make a net positive impact is what the question is. Headline addition center Mitch Morse is expected to start after being banged up most of the summer and be flanked by fellow free agent signing guard Quinton Spain. Rookie second round pick Cody Ford is expected to debut as a starting tackle and yet another newcomer John Feliciano (the guy who filled in for an injured Kelechi Osemele for Oakland last season) is expected to start at the other guard spot. So…new faces everywhere upfront including tight end Tyler Kroft who the Bills added from Cincinnati.
At receiver, the Bills signed speedster John Brown to be their de facto lead pass catcher and complement fellow outside burner Robert Foster. Cole Beasley will man the slot (SO MANY NEW PEOPLE, YEESH) and Zay Jones is still bouncing around here in all his averageness. The top three running backs are all new additions with LeSean McCoy now on the Chiefs: ageless robot Frank Gore, perpetual RB2 TJ Yeldon and head turning rookie Devin Singletary. Needless to say, this offense has been completely gutted and rebuilt with a mish mash of mostly veterans.
Defense has been Buffalo’s strength in recent years and that is unlikely to change in 2019. They used their first round pick on Ed Oliver, a player the Jets strongly considered with the third overall pick before going with Quinnen Williams. Jerry Hughes, second year linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and Lorenzo Alexander are still here to lead the second level and a fairly deep secondary is again headlined by corner Tre’Davious White safety and Micah Hyde.
3 – The Right Type Of Offense
The Jets defense is going to struggle this year and it may get flat out ugly some weeks. Succinctly, they have arguably the worst cornerback and edge rusher combination on paper in the NFL. However, the type of offense that should give them the most problems is not the type of offense that Buffalo has. The Jets have built themselves to be big and focused on the middle of their unit in a league increasingly focused on speed and the edges. Buffalo wants to run the ball and the Jets should be tough to run on with their 19,000 defensive lineman, CJ Mosley and Jamal Adams prowling around. If they scheme properly with Adams and Brian Poole, they should be effective at containing Allen’s scrambling. Is Allen accurate enough in the passing game to take advantage of the Jets likely coverage weaknesses? He may make a few big plays but if he cancels them out with three turnovers, like he did in their previous meeting…that could/should be enough for the Jets to pull out a win.
Basically – I don’t doubt the Jets are giving to give up some chunk plays but that they are betting on Allen giving them the ball a few times. At the end of the day, this game is probably coming down to whatever young quarterback protects the football better…
Prediction? Coming Friday in the 12 Pack…