Mike White and the Jets travel to West New York for a date with Josh Allen and the first-place Buffalo Bills this Sunday afternoon.
Coming off a 27-22 loss to the Vikings, the Jets need a win to remain afloat in the competitive AFC East. They’re 7-5 and the seven seed in the current AFC Playoff picture with five games to play. The 6-6 Pats and Chargers are right behind them, just outside the playoff picture.
A win over a division rival would be enormous for the Jets just as much as a loss would be detrimental. This game should play a significant role in whether the Jets advance to the postseason for the first time since 2010.
Jets at Bills
When: Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022
Where: Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, NY
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
Radio: ESPN Radio New York 98.7 FM
Keys to victory
Establish the run. Whether it’s Michael Carter, Ty Johnson, Bam Knight, or all three, the Jets will need to establish the run and tire out a Buffalo defense that’s 4th against the rush. This will, in turn, help the Jets find opportunities to produce through the air.
Saleh’s pass rushers. The Jets have made various moves to bulk up the pass rush — Sunday will be a game in which the acquisitions should pay off.
Josh Allen will make mistakes when pressured. He’s second in the league in turnovers with 15, including four fumbles lost and 11 interceptions.
Get everyone involved. The Jets could overwhelm this Buffalo secondary, which is 17th in the NFL against the pass, by involving various weapons. Wide receivers Garrett Wilson, Corey Davis (if healthy), Elijah Moore, Denzel Mims, and even tight end Tyler Conklin getting involved would be of benefit to White and the offense.
He won the battle over wide receiver Stefon Diggs back during the Jets’ Nov. 6 win over the Bills. Gardner allowed just 29 yards and a 36.7 rating when targeted during that game.
This time around, Diggs will want his revenge.
With the Allen-Diggs connection being one of the league’s most dominant, and the Bills sitting as the third-best passing team, Gardner will need a huge game. Or else this defense might have a tough time containing Buffalo’s star power.
Did you know?
The Jets have a chance to sweep the Bills for the first time since the 2016 season. New York defeated Buffalo in a Week 2 Thursday night game that year before winning by 20 in a meaningless Week 17 matchup.
Former Jet Ryan Fitzpatrick threw two touchdowns in that season finale, while the Bills were manned by EJ Manuel and Cardale Jones.
The Mike White train keeps chugging along as the primary backup will start for a third straight week against the Bills…the team that ended his run as the starter last year.
If you can remember, White threw four picks against the Bills in a 45-17 loss just two short weeks after his infamous performance against the Bengals.
But this season, White gets his revenge. The Bills are tied for 8th in pass rush win rate (per ESPN) but just lost Von Miller for the season. Buffalo’s defense is 10th in yards allowed but only 17th against the pass.
If the Jets can just get the run game going, White should find the opportunities to produce on passing downs. From there, if he can just protect the football, the Jets’ offense should be able to take pressure off a talented defense that must face Allen, Diggs, and Co.
And if you can remember, the Jets’ defense is up for that task: the unit allowed just 317 total yards in New York’s win back in Week 9. That’s nearly 100 yards fewer than what the Bills are currently averaging per game. Jets 23, Bills 20.