The New York Jets are going to need big days from Jamison Crowder, Breshad Perriman, and Jordan Jenkins if they’re going to beat the Bills.
Football season is finally here, and 2020 starts with a rivalry game. The New York Jets are heading up to Buffalo to take on the Bills.
This matchup has been a good one for the Jets the last four seasons. They’ve gone 3-1 in Buffalo over that time. Sam Darnold has won both of the Jets’ games in Buffalo over his career.
That said, 2020 is a different monster. The Bills are the favorite to win the AFC East after winning 11 games in 2019. They were able to keep most of their roster together while making high profile additions like Stefon Diggs. Many analysts believe that the Bills could be Super Bowl-bound if Josh Allen takes the next step.
They’ll start their quest against a Jets’ team that matches up exceedingly well against them. There’s no doubt that the Bills have the more talented roster, but the Jets have a few matchups they could take advantage of to pull off a major week 1 upset.
Jamison Crowder vs. Taron Johnson
The Bills have one clear weakness on their defense—slot cornerback. Taron Johnson filled that role for the majority of 2019 and he’s set to do it again in 2020. That’s good news for the Jets.
Jamison Crowder is the Jets’ best, and only reliable, target. He’s set to match up against Johnson all day. Crowder dominated that matchup Week 1 of 2019. He went off for 14 receptions on 17 targets for 99 yards.
If Crowder can become Darnold’s go-to target Week 1, then the Jets may have an easy time moving the ball on short-yardage downs. Quick, short passes to Crowder should be what the Jets offense is built on in Week 1.
If done right, it should open up the field for the Jets downfield target, Breshad Perriman.
Breshad Perriman vs. Josh Norman/Levi Wallace
The Jets need to find a way to get Breshad Perriman matched up against Josh Norman or Levi Wallace. Tre’Davious White has shown that he has no issue with speed after routinely shutting down Robby Anderson over the last two years. The same can’t be said for Wallace and Norman.
Both cornerbacks have 40-times over 4.6 compared to Perriman’s 4.2 speed. The Jets need to find a way to exploit that massive speed difference, even if that means isolating Denzel Mims or Chris Hogan against White.
Perriman dominated over the last five games of the 2019 season, in part because of the matchups. Bruce Arians and the Bucs were able to put his speed against slower corners to help make up for his lackluster route running. It made Perriman look like an All-Pro.
Adam Gase has the chance to do the same by putting Perriman against one of the slowest cornerbacks in the NFL. That matchup is only made better by Jamison Crowder’s presence.
If the Jets can bring the Bills’ safeties down to cover the middle of the field to stop Crowder, that will open up a ton of opportunities for Perriman downfield.
If the Jets’ offense is firing on all cylinders, it’s because Crowder and Perriman are taking advantage of some incredibly favorable matchups.
Jordan Jenkins vs. Bills RT
Jordan Jenkins loves playing against the Bills. He has 5.5 sacks, four fumbles, and five tackles for loss in seven games against the Bills. That’s 25% of his career sacks, 67% of his forced fumbles, and 23% of his tackles for loss.
He plays the Bills harder than anyone else, and he has a favorable matchup on Sunday. With Jon Feliciano out for the year, the Bills are having a tough time finding a starting right guard. It seems that starting right tackle Cody Ford is going to have to move inside to guard, forcing swing tackle Ty Nsekhe to start at right tackle.
Jenkins against a backup right tackle isn’t the matchup that the Bills likely want to bank on. They may not have much of a choice though. If they decide to go with former Jet Brian Winters at right guard, it leaves them vulnerable inside where the Jets have their best pass rushers—Quinnen Williams and Henry Anderson.
The Jets need to create pressure in a big way on Sunday and Jenkins is the most likely candidate to bring it consistently. If they want any hope of shutting down the Bills offense they’re going to need him to dominate the Bills the same way he’s done his entire career.