PRIME TIME may make many of you think about Coach Prime over in Colorado, but for us, it’s all about the Buffalo Bills visiting New Jersey for Monday Night Football. It’s the showcase matchup of Week 1 and has Buffalo favored by 2.5 points. This game would have had much fanfare even before Aaron Rodgers entered the conversation, but with ole darkness retreat in the fold, things are that much spicier… ayahuasca isn’t a spice, right? Entering 2023, the Bills have the third-best odds at the Super Bowl, and the Jets have the seventh. So, it should be a fun game. With that, here are my five keys to a Buffalo victory.
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The Bills have been reluctant to use 12 personnel the last few years, ranking near the bottom in the NFL in one running back and two tight end looks. That was before Brandon Beane traded up in the first round to draft pass-catching weapon Dalton Kincaid. I want to see the Bills catch the Jets in miss-matches and run Kincaid, Dawson Knox, Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis, and James Cook all over the field. All five of those guys can catch, and many have proven to be willing blockers. Utilize that versus a Jets defense that may be over-aggressive to try and prove itself.
Bend but Do Not Break
The Jets were tied for fifth in the NFL in field goal attempts in 2022. They were 31st in red zone touchdown percentage at just over 43%. Now, you may say that Aaron Rodgers fixes all of that. Green Bay was 23rd in red zone touchdown percentage in 2022, so maybe he isn’t the Mr. Fix It to that issue. The Bills holding the Jets to field goals and not touchdowns will go a long way in winning on Monday.
According to TeamRankings.com, the Bills were second in the league in first-quarter points in 2022 at 6.1. That is just behind Detroit for first overall. The Jets were 31st in the league in that same category at 2.5 points per first quarter. Again, I know, but Rodgers! The Packers were tenth on the season and 15th with that awesome home-field advantage.
Don’t Get Saucy
Sauce Gardner was the Defensive Rookie of the Year a season ago, for good reason. He will be in the conversation for best defensive player for years to come. His 90.0 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus was the best for corners. He allowed just 45.9% of passes thrown his way to be caught, good enough for fourth in the NFL for CBs with 20% of team snaps. His 14 pass breakups were tops in the league, and a passer rating against of 53.9 was second overall. This is a long way to say, don’t be stupid! If it isn’t a clear win, there is no reason to throw to his part of the field.
All Gas, No Brakes
It’s back again, folks! For as long as the Bills have Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, and several other weapons, I want to see the offense keep its foot on the throttle. This should be an offense that pushes close to 30 points per game and leads the league in several categories this season. ALL GAS, NO BREAKS!