The New York Jets play host to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday in a game that suddenly seems like it will be far more interesting than we would have anticipated. After Buffalo dropped a 9-6 snoozer to the Jacksonville Jaguars, any thought of this being a walkover game should be gone.
The Jets have two wins on the year, and one of them came against the AFC’s current top seed, the Tennessee Titans. The other is against the Cincinnati Bengals, who were the AFC’s top seed at the time they played. To make a long story short, the Jets may not have many wins, but they have shown that they can step up and beat some great competition.
In order for Buffalo to continue their eight-game winning streak against AFC East foes, they’ll need to shut down the Jets’ top players. Here’s who we’re watching this weekend.
QB Mike White
The Legend of Mike White has only grown this year, as the young backup has been dynamite in his limited action this year. In two starts, White has thrown for 500 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. He’s completed 78 percent of his passes in those two games. He was 7-for-11 for 95 yards and a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts last Thursday before an injury took him out of the game; however, he quarterbacked the Jets to a win over Cincinnati the week before and he had played well against the New England Patriots in relief the week prior to that. Buffalo’s defense has been a nightmare for young quarterbacks, and assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier will show White some complex looks to see if the young man can be fooled. If Buffalo can force a turnover or two early, they could kill any hope of an upset before Jets fans settle in their seats.
WR Elijah Moore
The Jets’ rebuilt receiver group hasn’t spent much time together, as many of the corps has spent time injured this year. Corey Davis is nursing a hip injury, and Denzel Mims has struggled to find his footing. Moore, though, is coming off two straight strong games. He has 13 catches for 151 yards and two touchdowns in his last two contests, and he’s only been targeted once where the pass wasn’t completed over that span. At 5’10” and 178 lbs, Moore is a shifty player who does most of his work in the slot. If Taron Johnson, who suffered a concussion last week, can’t go, then it will be up to Cam Lewis and Siran Neal to handle Moore. That could be an advantage for the Jets.
DE Shaq Lawson
Lawson is dealing with a hamstring injury, so it’s possible that he doesn’t even play. However, it’s always worth watching an old friend, especially one who was a first-round draft choice for Buffalo. Lawson left Buffalo after notching a career-high 6.5 sacks in 2019, and after one year with the Miami Dolphins, he was traded to the Houston Texans in March before the Texans traded him to the Jets in August. This year with New York, he has 14 tackles, four tackles-for-loss, two quarterback hits, one fumble recovery, two pass breakups, and one interception.
DT Quinnen Williams
The Bills have struggled to protect quarterback Josh Allen this year. The Bills have struggled to open running lanes for Zack Moss and Devin Singletary. The Bills have struggled to contain top-end defensive tackles like Cam Heyward, Jeffrey Simmons, and Taven Bryan. Okay, so one of those guys isn’t exactly “top-end,” yet Buffalo still allowed him to torpedo their offense since their guards couldn’t block him. The Bills had better have figured out their issues from last weekend; otherwise, Williams has the potential to destroy their game plan before they have any chance at executing it. Williams has 32 tackles, 4.5 sacks, nine quarterback hits, five tackles-for-loss, and a pass breakup on the year.
LB C.J. Mosley
Two years ago, Mosley was wreaking havoc on Buffalo’s offense in the season opener. He had an interception that he returned for a touchdown, six tackles, and a fumble recovery. The Jets led 16-0 deep into the third quarter. Then, Mosley left the game with an injury and Buffalo’s offense came alive. Perhaps it was a coincidence, but when the Jets lost their athletic linebacker, Josh Allen was able to operate more freely, finding space to run and to throw that wasn’t there before Mosley was hurt. He only played one more game in 2019 thanks to injury, then he missed the entire 2020 season thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic—like Star Lotulelei, Mosley opted out of the season. This year, Mosely is back, as he leads the Jets in tackles with 65. He has one sack, one pass breakup, one forced fumble, one quarterback hit, and two tackles-for-loss.