Le'Veon Bell, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Tre'Davious White
Jet X Graphic, Getty Images, AP Photo

The New York Jets and Buffalo Bills officially open up the 2020 NFL season this Sunday in Orchard Park, NY.

It’s finally here. Through eight months of craziness, filled with everything from the impeachment of a President to a pandemic, a bit of normalcy has returned in the form of the National Football League.

Adam Gase’s New York Jets travel to Orchard Park, NY to take on the Buffalo Bills in Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season.

Where, When

  • New York Jets (0-0)
  • Buffalo Bills (0-0)
  • Bills Stadium, Orchard Park, NY
  • Week 1, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

It’s not New Era Field anymore. For now, it’s simply called Bills Stadium. One of the oldest home venues in the NFL, this stadium has been around since 1973.

Walking up to it gives off a high school, Friday night-type feeling. Fans are tailgating in many interesting spots—not just the parking lot. Street corners and patches of grass that are settled in between buildings showcase crazed fans prior to kickoff.


Of course, there will be no fans for this one. Thanks to the state of New York (and New Jersey), Bills Stadium and MetLife Stadium will feature no fans (at least to start the season).

Odds

  • Moneyline: Bills -278 (bet $278, win $100) | Jets +225 (Bet $100, win $225)
  • Against the Spread/ATS: Bills -6.5 (-112) | Jets +6.5 (-106)
  • Over/Under: 39.5 (O: -110, U: -110)

Most so-called pundits have the Bills winning. It makes sense considering Buffalo reemerged as one of the better teams in the league last year. The wild-card team nearly knocked off the Houston Texans in the playoffs but fell short.

Interestingly, four of the last five meetings have gone to the underdog in an outright fashion. That puts the Jets in the driver’s seat for this one.

Injury Report

For the Jets, Denzel Mims was recently moved to IR, while Joe Flacco, Avery Williamson, and La’Mical Perine will miss the game. Mike White (active roster), Josh Adams, and Josh Malone (2 weekly promotions) were elevated from the practice squad to make the team’s 53-man roster plus two.

The Bills come into the game healthier. Cornerback Josh Norman will miss the contest (a bummer for the Jets, as the vet corner leads the NFL with 16 TDs allowed since 2018), while defensive tackle Vernon Butler is questionable.

Keys to the Game

Sam Darnold‘s patience:

Sabo’s Sessions already detailed what Sam Darnold has to do in order to beat the Bills defense.

Sean McDermott and Leslie Frazier‘s defense loves to keep everything in front of it. Buffalo often plays Cover 4 which means Darnold will have to play it patiently.

The Bills ranked first in the NFL last year by giving up the fewest number of 20+ and 40+ yard passing plays. That, combined with the fact they do not blitz much (finishing 18th in rushing five or more players), Darnold must remain patient when looking to push it downfield.

At the same time, his decision-making must be quick when he finds an outlet (checks it somewhere underneath). Far too often, he does not give up quickly enough on the No. 1 or 2 read downfield. He’ll have to do that against a very soft Bills coverage on Sunday.

Force Josh Allen to win from the pocket:

Everybody knows Josh Allen is a dual-threat quarterback. The question is, “Can he beat defenses from the pocket alone?”

It’s a legitimate question that Gregg Williams would love to see answered this weekend.

Williams will want his pass rushers to stay in their respective lanes and his defensive backfield to keep the pressure high. Force Allen to beat the defense from the pocket.

Jets’ offensive line:

It really may just come down to the Jets revamped offensive line. Oftentimes, the Bills will play that Cover 4 (and plenty of two-deep) which dares the offense to run the ball.

Adam Gase and Darnold cannot be afraid to dial-up the run against light boxes. They’ll have to trust this new offensive line to get it done when staring down a two-deep look.

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Prediction

  • New York Jets 24, Buffalo Bills 16

Give me the Jets in a shocker (to most people) to begin the season. Yes, the loss of Jamal Adams will hurt the defense more than anybody realizes, but this offense should be much better with Mekhi Becton, Connor McGovern, Greg Van Roten, and George Fant upfront.

Look for a big first week out of Le’Veon Bell and Breshad Perriman.


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