The Buffalo Bills are hoping that Josh Allen will be the quarterback who finally delivers the long-suffering fanbase a Super Bowl. There have been legitimate concerns that Allen and the Bills’ window may be closing. What the New York Jets did in the offseason by signing Aaron Rodgers opened up the AFC East Division race in the eyes of many.
The Jets reached a deal with the Green Bay Packers to bring superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers to the Big Apple. While Rogers is 39 years old and toward the end of his career, there was clearly bad blood between Rodgers and Green Bay. New York has the longest playoff drought in the NFL, having not made the postseason since 2011. The Jets have plenty of momentum for the first time in a decade.
New York won’t want to waste this opportunity to open the season with a win that will give them a leg up in the division race.
Buffalo Has All-Time Edge
The Bills will be 2.5-point favorites when Buffalo travels to MetLife Stadium for an 8:18 p.m. kickoff Monday night in East Rutherford, N.J. The Bills lead the all-time series 68-57. New York and Buffalo split their two meetings last season.
The Bills won 20-12 at home, while the Jets also won 20-17 at home. Buffalo has won five of the past six meetings in the series.
What Does Aaron Rodgers Have Left?
Aaron Rodgers is closing in on the end of his career, but Tom Brady has proven that quarterbacks can be effective beyond 40. Last season, Rodgers threw 12 interceptions, topping double figures in picks for the first time since the 2011 season. However, that came with a young receiver core in Green Bay.
In the two seasons before that, Rodgers earned every penny of his high salary by winning back-to-back MVPs. Rodgers is also coming to the Jets at a time when they have assembled a strong group of skill players. Wide receiver Garrett Wilson was the Rookie of the Year, while Breece Hall had a strong season at running back before he was lost for the year due to an injury.
Allen Has Challenge to Make Fewer Mistakes
Being a top quarterback in the NFL is difficult without winning – just ask Aaron Rodgers. The questions start to pop up for players like Bills quarterback Josh Allen when they don’t win Super Bowls. This offseason, Allen’s commitment to the game was questioned.
That’s what happens when you have a season like Allen did last season. Allen threw for 4,283 yards and 35 touchdowns, which was very good. Where Allen gets in trouble is with turnovers. Allen threw 14 interceptions last season. He has thrown double-digit interceptions during four of his five seasons in the league.
Buffalo would like to see Allen run a little less this season. Allen carried the ball a career-high 124 times last season for 762 yards and seven touchdowns.
Despite Allen’s penchant for throwing interceptions, Buffalo hasn’t suffered for it. Other than a 5-6 record during his rookie season, Allen has led the Bills to double-digit wins in four straight seasons, including a 13-3 mark last year.
New York Ready for Line to Debut
The Jets spent a lot of time in the offseason trying to figure out how to protect their star acquisition Aaron Rodgers. New York wasn’t able to get the entire offensive line together until Aug. 29 because of injuries. Left tackle Duane Brown was the last player to return from the injured list.
The Jets will also play Laken Tomlinson at left guard, Connor McGovern at center, Alijah Vera-Tucker and right tackle Mekhi Becton. There are injury concerns surrounding Becton, who has missed 33 consecutive games with a right knee injury.
Last season, the Jets had a hard time protecting the many quarterbacks who were forced to play for New York last season. The Jets allowed 2.47 sacks per game. New York allowed its quarterbacks to be sacked 47 times last season.
Hamlin Set to Return, Von Miller still out
Damar Hamlin will return to the field this season at safety for the Bills. Hamlin’s story last season put the entire league on pause. He suffered a cardiac arrest on the field and nearly died against Cincinnati. Following a long stint in the hospital, Hamlin was cleared to play again in April.
Veteran pass rusher Von Miller will miss four games to start the season for Buffalo. Miller tore his ACL during the Bills’ Thanksgiving Day game against the Lions last year. Last season, Miller finished tied for a team-high with eight sacks despite only playing in 11 games. Buffalo will need Miller to be back to almost his old form to help elevate Buffalo’s pass rush.
TV Squabble Could Affect Viewership
While the Jets and Bills will be playing in primetime for Monday night football, Charter Communications and Disney are battling over television rights for ESPN. Charter Communications has said that Disney asked for unsustainable price hikes. ESPN is currently blacked out on Charter Communications customers’ televisions.
Anyone who lives in a market with an ABC station will be able to see the game. In New York City, many residents won’t be able to access the game and see Aaron Rodgers debut because of a blacked-out station.
Stefon Diggs Ready to Suit Back Up
Diggs has been Allen’s top target at wide receiver over the past three seasons. Despite this, Diggs had to shoot down whispers in the offseason of him wanting out of Buffalo. If Diggs did want out, it wasn’t because of his lack of production.
In three seasons with Buffalo, Diggs has caught more than 100 passes in each season. Last year, Diggs finished with 1,429 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. It was the second straight season Diggs finished with 10 or more touchdowns. Diggs’ worst season in Buffalo saw him only catch 103 passes for 1,225 yards.