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Pregame Rumblings: Bills vs. Jets preview

The Bills enter a big road divisional contest as heavy betting favorites

Buffalo Bills v New York Jets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

NFL Week 9 is here, and the Buffalo Bills finally have another division game as they travel to New Jersey to take on the New York Jets.

Buffalo comes into this game with a record of 6-1, and they sit at the top of the AFC East and the conference as a whole. The Jets are 5-3, and have scored some strong wins with a good defense and a productive rushing attack—a formula that most teams use while developing talent at the quarterback position.

The Bills are massive favorites again this week as they head into this game as 11-point favorites. So far this season, the Bills have a 4-3 record against the spread. While they didn’t cover last week against the Green Bay Packers, they still won the game by double digits, and have every reason to feel confident heading into this divisional matchup. The Jets are also confident this weekend, as they are tied with the Miami Dolphins for second place in the division and looking to shake things up even further.

Here are my thoughts and things to look for during this game.

  1. The Jets have really exceeded expectations in almost every way this year. They boast victories against the Dolphins and the Packers in recent weeks, in games they weren’t expected to win. Defensively, the Jets are solid. Rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner has been just as impressive as everyone expected when he was drafted. The matchup between Gardner and Bills wideout Stefon Diggs will be the marquee billing of the afternoon. Diggs ranks second in the league with 764 receiving yards, and first with seven receiving touchdowns. So far for the season, Gardner has only one interception, but he is tied for the league lead in passes defended with 12. While I don’t expect the Bills to shy away from the rookie, it might be smart for offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey to find creative ways to get Diggs the ball.
  2. The Jets started the season off with Zach Wilson injured. Veteran backup Joe Flacco had the offense looking strong and inspired. Rookie running back Breece Hall also showed that he lived up to every expectation that we had of him prior to the season. Now, Flacco is on the bench, and Hall is out for the year. Second-year pro Zach Wilson doesn’t look as comfortable in the passing game, and the numbers back that up. Running back James Robinson is a really good talent, but will he fit into the offense and make plays similarly to Hall? That’s the question Jets fans have, and that’s the thing I’ll be paying attention to. How will this offense compete with the Bills defensive front? Von Miller and company have been nightmares for opposing teams, and I don’t anticipate that changing in this game. Will the offense be able to keep up with the Bills as far as matching points? If quarterback Josh Allen is on and the Bills are rolling, it will be up to Wilson to keep the Jets in the game. In five games this year, he has three touchdowns to five interceptions.
  3. The Bills have had the luxury of health over the last two games. The injury report has been encouraging and Bills fans are excited to get their first look at cornerback Tre’Davious White in nearly a full calendar year. But now there is reason for concern again when you see safety Jordan Poyer has been ruled out for this game. In last week’s win against the Packers, Poyer said he “felt a pop” in the same elbow he injured in training camp. The Bills have him listed as day to day, but there have been some reports that the fear around One Bills Drive is that he may miss multiple games. With veteran safety Micah Hyde out for the year and now Poyer potentially set to miss multiple weeks, the secondary won’t be at the same strength that it has been in the past. The Bills made a move at the trade deadline to bring back Dean Marlowe to help stop the bleeding. But there is a clear drop off from the All-Pro pair of Hyde and Poyer to expected starters Damar Hamlin and Jaquan Johnson. We’ll see if the team is affected by injuries in the secondary.

Allen and the Bills have been really impressive against the Jets so far in his career. I think that trend continues this weekend, and the Bills put up big points against a young Jets team that is missing their biggest threat on offense. Both defenses are good, but the Jets haven’t been tested this season with tremendous quarterback play. We will see what they are made of, as I have the Bills bullying their division rival and beating them soundly on the road.

Bills cover the spread and win big in Jersey.

DraftKings Circle the Wagons SGP

  • Bills cover the spread -11.5
  • Gabe Davis Anytime Touchdown
  • New York Jets Under 15.5 points

As I mentioned previously, the Jets don’t have the firepower to go toe-to-toe with Allen and the Bills. With all the talk about how Gardner will cover Diggs, Davis is the forgotten star. He will benefit from all the attention being given to the Diggs-Gardner matchup.