For the second straight week, the playoff-hopeful 2022 New York Jets get to compete on the road against one of the best teams in the NFL in what will be yet another hostile environment. Only this time, in freezing cold elements.
The 7-5 Jets, currently in the playoffs as the seventh seed in the AFC, compete against division opponent and current number one seed, the 9-3 Buffalo Bills. A win for the Jets today, and they sweep the Bills for the year, which could play a huge factor in any potential tiebreaker at the end of the season.
As a team, the Jets red zone and third down struggles from a week ago were as well documented as could be. In both regards, the Jets need to execute better situationally today if they want to have any chance of winning. The Jets did also happen to lose the turnover battle 2-0 a week ago and on both sides have to win the battle of the ball today.
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New York Jets vs Buffalo Bills Preview:
It feels great that the Jets have taken the next step as they play yet another meaningful December football game. Only today, the Jets need to find a way to win in a competition for the playoffs that is too tight.
Starting on the defensive side of the football, the Jets get to see Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs for the second time this year. That being said, the Jets have the best cornerback trio in football with Sauce Gardner, DJ Reed, and Michael Carter II, who all year have delivered, and risen up to prime challenges. Allen and Diggs will always get theirs, but this Jets trio of corners will also make its impact in this one.
Up front, with the run defense, the Jets need to do a better job of containing Allen than they did in Week 9 when he ran for 86 yards. Also, rookie running back James Cook has had an 86 and 64-yard rushing performance in two of his last three games. Cook enters this one averaging 5.4 yards per carry. The Jets 13th ranked run defense (112.7 yards per game allowed) needs to keep this Allen-led ground attack under control this afternoon.
The Jets’ pass rush goes into this ballgame tied for sixth in the league with 36 sacks. Led by Quinnen Williams, John Franklin-Myers, and company, this ferocious pass rush of the Jets needs to have a day against an offensive line that may be without Dion Dawkins.
The Jets’ fourth-ranked defense (307 yards per game allowed) against the Bills’ second-ranked offense (410.8 yards per game) will be a terrific matchup. While it will be tough, the Jets, who are allowing 18.6 points per game (sixth in NFL), must limit the Bills to 20-24 points in this ball game to have a chance.
On the other side of the football, the Jets now go into game three with Mike White leading the way offensively. For White, he gets the opportunity to bounce back against the team to give him his lone bad performance as a starter yet.
The Bills go into this matchup with top-five ranks defensively against the run and with points allowed. They are the fourth-best run defense (101.8 yards per game allowed) and fourth in scoring, just ahead of the Jets with an average of 17.4 a week. Safe to say, this will be a tough test for the Jets. But one they are capable of rising up to.
The Jets will have Michael Carter back, who will lead the way with Zonovan “Bam” Knight on the ground. In the air, it will likely once again be Garrett Wilson as the featured target to get this passing attack of the Jets going.
In the trenches, both of these lines enter this game in the middle of the pack when it comes to sacks. The offensive line of the Jets has the 14th-least sacks given up (27). The Bills pass rush has the 14th-most sacks (31). As well-noted throughout the week, star edge rusher Von Miller is out for the year. The Bills will also be without defensive tackle, Jordan Phillips.
The Jets offensive line did a stout job against a premier edge duo of Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith a week ago. Once again, they need to deliver.
On both sides of the football, each of these teams rank very strongly in essentially every category. The Jets and the Bills enter this game as two of the best teams in football.
It will be a competitive, physical contest in cold conditions. Similar to the Week 9 matchup, it will probably be another last-minute, three-point differential game in the 17-24 point range. Simply put, the Jets need execute better situationally and late to win this game, get to 8-5, and i,f so, they significantly improve their playoff hopes.