Bills vs. Jets: Expert Pick and Prediction – September 11, 2023
BILLS VS. JETS: EXPERT PICK AND PREDICTION – September 11, 2023 — Is the hype around the New York Jets justified? With the AFC East as wide open as it’s been in decades, it’s reasonable to think this might finally be New York’s time to shine.
The Jets haven’t won a division title since 2002, and they haven’t made the playoffs since 2010. But New York believes it’s solved its biggest problem by adding Aaron Rodgers at quarterback and pairing him with what was a championship defense last year. In 2022, only three teams did better than the Jets’ 18.6 points per game on defense, and all three made the playoffs. By the same token, only three teams did worse than the Jets’ 17.4 points per game on offense, and all three earned a top-five draft pick (or would have, if Denver hadn’t traded its pick to Seattle).
Buffalo has ruled this division for three years now. But the rest of the AFC East seems to be catching up with Josh Allen and the Bills. In 2020 and 2021, Buffalo blitzed the East, going 11-1 against the division. But both the Dolphins and the Jets beat the Bills at home last year, and New York would have pulled the sweep if its offense was even slightly competent. With the Jets seemingly taking a big step forward, can the Bills remain a step ahead of their division rival?
(0-0 SU, 0-0-0 ATS)
|New York Jets
(0-0 SU, 0-0-0 ATS)
When: Monday, September 11th at 8:20 p.m. EDT
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
Public Bets: 69% on New York
Public Money: 52% on New York
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of September 7th, 2023
Expecting points in this matchup is almost always a recipe for disappointment. Over the past four seasons, the teams have only gone over 40 points twice, and one of those was when the Jets committed five turnovers to lose 45-17 in 2021. Other than that game, 27 points has been a winning score every time, and the Jets haven’t topped 20 against Buffalo since 2018.
Related: NFL Week One Fantasy Sleepers
The Jets were cover darlings in the first half of the season, but they fell apart down the stretch when the offense collapsed. New York went just 1-5 ATS over its final six games, in large part because they only scored four touchdowns in that stretch. Of course, the one game they covered was Buffalo, as the Bills couldn’t handle being a double-digit favorite against New York.
The Bills have been a poor ATS play inside the division lately. They seem to have New England and Mac Jones figured out, but they went 0-4 ATS against New York and Miami last year.
If Buffalo is going to regain the upper hand in this matchup, Allen will have to figure out the Jets’ pass rush. New York has taken control by forcing Allen to essentially abandon the ground game because it gets in the backfield too quickly for Allen to make a read. Once that plan is thwarted, Allen either has to tuck it and go or force something against Sauce Gardner and friends.
In practice, that’s meant James Cook has been relegated to little more than standing and watching the plays develop. The Buffalo back finished with more receiving yards than rushing yards in both games against New York last year, which says his prop play of 45.5 rushing yards is a major stretch.
Rodgers has to be the X-factor for New York. At 39 years old, he can’t have many bullets left in his arm. But the Jets are banking on him having enough for one, maybe two more years. The pressure’s on for him to deliver a big performance and not waste another year of this defense.
Any offense needs to happen early in the day. Thunderstorms are set to roll into New York on Monday night, which means the second half could be played in a mess. The temperature won’t be too terrible at 80 degrees for the high, but stormy conditions could shut down both passing attacks.
This doesn’t look like a high-scoring game, nor does it look like one to take a road favorite. The reality is that New York was better than Buffalo last year at every position but quarterback. If Rodgers is even half-decent at the position this year, the Jets have the edge here.
The bottom line is that the Jets know how to play Josh Allen by now. Allen doesn’t seem to have the ability to force the Jets out of the way they want to play, which means they know what they’re getting in this matchup. The defense is good enough to force Allen to try to beat the Jets’ secondary, never a winning proposition.
N.Y. Jets +2.5
James Cook Under 45.5 Rush Yards