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New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills, Week 1 Preview: Aaron Rodgers’ debut

New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills, 2023 NFL Week 1
New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills, 2023 NFL Week 1 (Getty Images)

Aaron Rodgers debuts for the Jets on Monday night

Finally, the moment everybody’s been waiting for has arrived. Aaron Rodgers is set to make his New York Jets debut on Monday Night Football.

Naturally, the opponent is no cupcake. Josh Allen and the defending champion Buffalo Bills are the opponents, representing one-half of the game that wraps up 2023 NFL Week 1.

Although Jets fans have experienced big-name acquisitions in the past, this one feels different. Remember, the Brett Favre situation in 2008 came as a surprise, much later in camp, when nobody expected it.

The Tim Tebow acquisition produced incredible buzz—but it did so for all the wrong reasons.

In this case, the Aaron Rodgers situation, two sides recognized a perfect fit at the perfectly timed moment in football time. Fortunately, for the organization, entire fanbase, and Mr. Rodgers himself, that recognition was enough to make it happen.

Now, it’s business time. It’s spotlight time. It’s football time.

New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills, 2023 NFL Week 1
New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills, 2023 NFL Week 1 (Getty Images)

Jets vs. Bills game info

  • New York Jets (0-0)
  • Buffalo Bills (0-0)
  • NFL, Week 1, Sept. 11, 2023, 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN
  • MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ

Goodbye, 1:00 p.m. ET football games. While the Jets still have plenty of 1:00 p.m. ET games on the slate this season, Aaron Rodgers’s presence immediately makes them a primetime fixture.

The NFL thought Week 1 would be the perfect scenario to showcase them on Monday Night Football—coinciding with Sept. 11, a date closely tied with the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan area.

Kickoff is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised on ESPN with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman on the call.

Jets vs. Bills history

  • The Bills lead the all-time series 68-57.

The Buffalo Bills’ 68-57 all-time record is mainly due to the Jim Kelly-era team that squashed the Jets at every turn.

From November 1987 until November 1997, Buffalo won 18 of 21 contests, including stretches of 10 straight and six in a row, respectively.

The Bills have also won five of the last six, with the lone loss coming in 2022’s matchup at MetLife Stadium (a 20-17 come-from-behind Jets victory).

Jets vs. Bills odds (FanDuel Sportsbook)

  • Spread: Jets +2 (-110), Bills -2 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Jets +108, Bills -126
  • Over/Under: 45.5 (O: -110, U: -110)

A two-point line is pretty much where you’d think the spread would be heading into the game. Sure, the Jets are home in this one, but the Bills deserve every bit of the respect they’re currently given.

Until somebody knocks them off, they’re still the division champs.

Jets vs. Bills injury report

Other than Rodgers, the most exciting aspect of the Jets offseason involves the team’s overall health. Joe Douglas’s injury prevention program is certainly paying dividends.

New York Jets

  • Breece Hall (Questionable)
  • Duane Brown (Questionable)
  • Mekhi Becton (Questionable)

Breece Hall, Duane Brown, and Mekhi Becton are all officially listed as questionable, but all three are expected to play. (All three were full participants at Saturday’s walkthrough.)

It’s tough to remember the last time the Jets were this healthy entering a season.

Buffalo Bills

  • N/A

Meanwhile, the Buffalo Bills are even healthier—at least that’s what the official injury report says.

The problem for Buffalo is that Von Miller will miss this game and a few more, as he’ll begin the season on the PUP list.

Safety Micah Hyde was the lone man on the injury report, but he doesn’t even have a designation anymore, as he was a full participant in practice on Saturday. So, he’s expected to play as well.

Jets’ keys to victory

Get off to a fast start

As elementary as the idea may be, it’s as true as any key to this game. This fresh New York Jets team has to get off to a fast start.

While there’s no question that rust will pop up in certain spots—as it’s unavoidable for all teams in Week 1—Aaron Rodgers will be asked to quickly adjust to his new surroundings.

The beautiful aspect of having Rodgers lead the ship is this: The future Hall of Fame quarterback will, indeed, take what the Buffalo Bills defense gives him. This takes the pressure off of Nathaniel Hackett and the entire coaching staff.

Contain Josh Allen responsibly

On the other side of the ball, it’ll come down to responsible pass-rush lanes en route to containing Josh Allen.

Slowing down the Bills’ structured offensive attack is one thing; ensuring that Allen doesn’t kill you outside of structure is how wins against this team will really come.

Jets vs. Bills prediction

  • New York Jets 27, Buffalo Bills 23

I’m going with the New York Jets in Aaron Rodgers’s debut. The game can obviously go either way, but MetLife Stadium will undoubtedly be electric, and the Jets now have a quarterback to match what the Buffalo Bills have enjoyed for five years.

Rarely is an NFL team so talented without having an actual quarterback. In fact, the more it’s thought about, the more insane it is that this Jets team won seven games with the NFL’s worst quarterback situation.

For that, and the Jets’ downtrodden history, I firmly believe folks are underrating the Jets heading into this season.

Give me the Jets in Week 1 in thrilling fashion—perhaps a Rodgers game-winning drive that sees his offense put up seven points late.

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9 months ago

You say “rust” could be a problem, but in the Jets’ case its more like total unfamiliarity. This is game one for them, so we really can’t expect too much, especially when playing against a defense that plays fast like the Bills. I see especially in the first half, some glitches and mistiming between Rodgers and his receivers and between the OL men in blocking. A few three and outs and few sacks due to these glitches coupled with Buffalo getting up a couple of scores could lead to some pressing, abandonment of the run game, etc. I’m not going to predict the score or winner, but I’m buckling up for a bumpy ride.