Jets vs. Bills Week 11 Preview: Only a Win is a Win

11/17/2023
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The Game Matchups Preview series is dedicated to breaking down how the Buffalo Bills match up with their opponent in every game of the 2023 NFL season. This series will look at five key matchups; Bills Pass Offense vs. Opponent Pass Defense, Bills Rush Offense vs. Opponent Rush Defense, Bills Pass Defense vs. Opponent Pass Offense, Bills Rush Defense vs. Opponent Rush Offense, and Bills Special Teams vs. Opponent Special Teams. This entire analysis will conclude with three sections; “Why Buffalo Will Lose”, “Why Buffalo Will Win”, and a score prediction for the game.

Below I present 2023’s 11th edition of this analysis for the Bills Week 11 clash with the New York Jets. Included is my “patented” 👏 scale which ranks the advantage in each matchup from 👏👏👏👏👏 (Massive Advantage) to 👏 (Minimal Advantage).

Bills Pass Offense vs. Jets Pass Defense

On the precipice of a tragic end to their 2023 season, the Bills needed to make a move, and there was only one to be made. Thus, Ken Dorsey was relieved of his duties, and quarterbacks coach Joe Brady was named the interim Offensive Coordinator of the Buffalo Bills. In his time with Buffalo, Dorsey built a statistically sound offense but one that consistently seemed to be missing…something. Now under Brady, the hope, and the need, is that the offense will find that something and become more challenging to opposing defenses. That will ultimately rest on the shoulders of Buffalo’s quarterback Josh Allen who despite being statistically one of the most dominant quarterbacks of the 2023 season has faced immense criticism in the past few weeks. On the brink of the end of the season though, regardless of if Allen is the problem, there is no doubt that he is also their only solution.

This week Allen will need to find a way to secure a win for the Bills against arguably the only team he has consistently played poorly against in his career, the New York Jets. To secure that win the Bills will need to reduce their turnovers against a team that ranks eighth in takeaways per game (1.67). This is a well-balanced team that has taken away six fumbles to go along with nine interceptions. An odd statistic though, outside of Week #, where Jordan Whitehead (S) picked off Josh Allen three times, no single player on the Jets has more than one interception while their three starting corners Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed, and Michael Carter have a combined zero picks on the season. Still, this defense is incredibly dangerous and will attempt to tempt Allen into errant throws, something he will need to avoid by attacking underneath. That means using Dalton Kincaid (TE) out of the slot, James Cook (RB) out of the backfield, and mixing in both Gabe Davis as well as Stefon Diggs further down the field when opportunities present themselves. If Allen is patient, this game will be there for the taking, if he isn’t the same can be said for the Jets defense.

Where the Jets become exponentially more dangerous is through their pass rush where they lead the league with a 29.6% pressure rate. They generate this through a strong rotation up front which includes a slew of players that can consistently win one-on-one matchups and get after opposing quarterbacks. John Franklin-Myers is a versatile inside/outside rusher, Bryce Huff is a sub 40% snap share pass rush savant, Quinnen Willams is a premier defensive tackle, Jermaine Johnson is an up-and-coming defensive end, and Quinton Jefferson is having a career resurgence for gang green. This plethora of pass rushers will strain a Bills’ offensive line that has been significantly better in 2023, notwithstanding their occasional hiccup. It’s going to require game planning and Allen playing closer to his peak for the Bills to avoid a handful of game-changing sacks meaning that new OC Joe Brady will have a lot on his hands in his first game as play caller for the Bills.

ADVANTAGE: Bills 👏

Bills Rush Offense vs. Jets Rush Defense

James Cook fumbled his first touch of the game against the Broncos and then went on to have a career-best 9.08 yards per attempt in the game. After that fumble, Buffalo saw a different version of Cook, who looked to be running more physically and direct when identifying holes in front of him. Buffalo will need more of that for the remainder of the season with fewer fumbles, of which he had two in Week 10. Cook’s abilities as a runner significantly increase the potential of this Bills offense, a potential that Joe Brady will need to tap into. More versatile play calling, utilization of pre-snap motion, as well as a focus on leveraging play action to not only open up the pass but to also set up future runs will be critical against a defense that makes it hard to throw but possible to run.

This is a Jets team that is giving up 4.3 yards per attempt on the season, which ranks #No. 4 in the NFL. It’s an odd number considering the Jets not only have a dominant defensive front but also a duo of linebackers that are in the conversation for best twosome in the NFL. The now 31-year-old CJ Mosley speaks for himself as a perennial All-Pro contender at linebacker, an award he has already earned a total of five times in his now nine-year career. He has a unique ability to fill running lanes which pairs well with instincts that allow him to identify plays from the onset and adjust accordingly into coverage if need be. This season he gets to play next to a version of Quincy Williams who has taken a jump from an NFL afterthought into one of the league’s most highspeed playmaking backers. He’s turned into an electric player in this Jets defense and is an athlete who can run down any player in any area of the field. Opponents can expose him if they use his speed against him though that has been easier said than done on a season where he is tracking towards an All-Pro nod.

Where Williams causes even more problems for the Bills is in slowing down one of the hidden components of the Bills offense, Allen’s legs. His speed reduces the ability for Allen to win the edge and gain the open field where he has proven to be one of the league’s best open-field runners. Further, this could be a problem for Buffalo in the red zone where Allen has used his legs to account for seven touchdowns thereby reducing the incidence of unnecessary turnovers at that level of the field. Against the Jets, it will be more difficult for Allen to utilize that aspect of his game in the short field to turn what could be three points into seven. This is where we may see a new wrinkle for the Bills. How many jet sweeps have we seen from the Bills this season? Don’t be surprised if Brady attempts to catch the Jets off guard with either a sweep or push pass to a player like Deonte Harty in an area of the field that will be a difficult matchup for this Bills offense against that Jets defense.

ADVANTAGE: Bills 👏👏👏

Bills Pass Defense vs. Jets Pass Offense

The Bills may have something regarding Pass Defense. Sean McDermott schemed up a mitigating pass coverage concept despite missing 50% of his secondary against the Broncos. This week the Bills might get back one or two of those players in Christian Benford (CB) and Micah Hyde (S) while Rasul Douglas (CB) looks like he can be the real deal as a CB1 for Buffalo during Tre White’s IR stint. For two years now the Bills have had to piece together a defense and while this season has had more struggles, they seem to be turning a page onto the better side of their struggles. At this point they need every unit to be playing at the peak of their abilities and against the Jets we may see the first real version of that peak in weeks.Zach Wilson QuBeR

Luckily for the Bills that defense is set to take on arguably the worst starting quarterback in the NFL in Zach Wilson. While he has had spurts of looks like a feasible NFL quarterback his 21.77 QuBeR ranks 32 out of 32 qualifying quarterbacks in 2023 and 942 out of 960 qualifying quarterbacks since 1994. Against the Bills, he is going to need to be able to move the ball through the air as Buffalo is set to bail out against the run and trust their defensive backs to win one-on-one matchups enough to ensure the Jets can’t put up points in quick spurts. The Jets aren’t without weapons though as Garrett Wilson is a bonafide WR1 who can be moved in and out of the slot while Allen Lazard is a fine enough WR2 to draw some attention. Outside of those two wide receivers though the Jets have no real other weapon in that room and instead shift to other positions. Tyler Conlin has 33 receptions, second most on the team, at tight end while Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook have combined for 36 receptions out of the backfield. The Bills may have to defend every position group equally against the Jets passing attack but with Wilson throwing the ball the threat through the air is minimal.

Making matters worse for Wilson is that the Jets’ pass protection has been abysmal. To date, Wilson is suffering a pressure rate of 28.7% which is third-worst in the NFL as his offensive line is struggling to keep the already struggling quarterback clean. Mekhi Becton hasn’t lived up to his potential at left tackle and has given up six sacks while Max Mitchell has been an uninspiring option at on the right side. Add to that inconsistent lineups and play on the interior and the Bills should be able to tee off against this Jets front. That means Leonard Floyd and Greg Rousseau continuing to win off the edge, Ed Oliver forwarding a borderline All-Pro year, and AJ Epenesa being impressive in a contract season. Against the Jets, the Bills shouldn’t need to send extra blitzers and in the process should still be able to pressure Wilson by simultaneously containing the Jets running backs, a paramount requirement this week.

ADVANTAGE: Bills 👏👏👏👏

Bills Rush Defense vs. Jets Rush Offense

The Bills have quietly heated up against opposing RB1s despite injuries to two studs in their front seven in Matt Milano (LB) and DaQuan Jones (DT). In the past two weeks, they have held Joe Mixon and Javonte Williams to a combined 3.3 yards per carry on 35 carries. This has been achieved through a defensive line that is sustaining their positions up front and Terrel Bernard winning on an impressive basis. Bernard has been one of the league’s best linebackers through 10 weeks ranking seventh in tackles (93) while posting an impressive six tackles for a loss. At this point in the season the Bills defense rides and dies with Bernard who has been an absolute gem of a find by Brandon Beane in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

And Bernard must be a force this week against a Jets team that will rely on its ground attack to beat the Bills. That ground attack almost exclusively relies on Breece Hall to dominate at this point in the season, and he can and has. With teams focusing almost exclusively on the run Hall has still racked up 521 rushing yards on 107 attempts for an impressive 4.9 yards per attempt. He can identify open running lanes while possessing the speed and acceleration to break through them and has the trucking ability when he needs to use it. He is the Jets key to victory this week and is a part of arguably the biggest matchup of the game which features him and Terrel Bernard. Outside of Hall, there is another option in the running game, but he’s had a rough go of it this season. Dalvin Cook has had a nightmare season with the Jets only carrying the ball 47 times for an awful yards per attempt of 147 yards. He has lost some juice and to this point has been one of the league’s worst offseason signings.

There are some non-traditional options for the Jets to move the ball on the ground though, both at quarterback and wide receiver. Wilson is running at a pretty consistent rate this season when he sees lanes meaning he is a player that must be accounted for. He has 29 attempts for 184 yards so far this season but his seven first downs picked up on the ground generate concern for Buffalo as someone they must remove from the equation to avoid the Jets extending drives. After him, there is another option for the Jets in the run game and it just so happens to be a player that beat the Bills in Week #. Xavier Gipson is a player who has just four carries on the season but is a threat out of the backfield whenever he is on the field, The Bills’ backs are known to be against the walls but it’s worth pointing out that the Jets are in the same position, don’t be surprised if they try to feed a player like Gipson to keep the Bills defensive ends honest while generating the change to create the all-important chunk play.

ADVANTAGE: Jets 👏👏👏

5 unbelievable stats from Bills’ Week 10 loss to Broncos

Bills Special Teams vs. Jets Special Teams

On the season Tyler Bass is 40 for 43 on kicks with those three misses coming in two weeks. Between Weeks 6 and 7, Bass would miss three Field Goals, twi from 50+ against the Giants and one blocked against the Patriots. He’s as automatic as they come and at this point the polar opposite of the Bills’ punter, Sam Martin, who has struggled mightily the past couple of weeks. Martin for most of his tenure with the Bills has been a consistent workhorse who has suffered from a case of the line drives recently resulting in a total of 55 returns yards against on just six punts the past two weeks. He must be better moving forward, as needs to be the Bills return game. Deonte Harty has some juice on Punt Returns when he has space but on Kick Return Bills players are better off fair catching moving forward to avoid poor field position.

For the Jets, they may have the First Team All-Pro Kicker on their roster in Greg Zuerlein. On the season he is 28 of 29 on kicks with his only miss on the season being a 52-yard attempt against the Chiefs in Week 4. Want a wild stat about him? He has only attempted six extra points. Punting for the Jets is Thomas Morstead who at the age of 37 somehow is still one of the league’s best punters. A 49.0 yards per punt coupled with an 18:4 Inside the 20 to Touchback ratio is elite punting numbers. He will be called upon to flip the field for the Jets this weekend, and he can. Lastly is the player who beat the Bills in Week 1, Xavier Gipson. His 65-yard punt return for a touchdown started the Bills season off at 0-1 but since then he hasn’t been spectacular on return. Outside of that one return, he has 16 punt returns for an average of 6.6 yards and eight kick returns for an average of 22.4 yards. He isn’t the threat Bills fans may perceive him to be, but rest assured the Bills will treat him like the returner he can be.

ADVANTAGE: Jets 👏👏👏

Why Buffalo Will Lose

Why will the Bills lose? Because they can lose to anyone. This is something they have proven in 2023 and is something they will have to remedy this season if they hope to extend their season. For the Jets on offense, they are going to stress the Bills rush defense by using Breece Hall in a multitude of ways and hoping that the Bills make a big mistake like they did in Week 1. As they continue to do that, they are going to monitor the Safety creep and when that creep gets too far, they will unleash Zach Wilson for better or worse. The Jets may need 21 points to win this game and however they get those points they will be fine on Sunday evening.

On the other side of the ball, the recipe against the Bills is simple, win the turnover battle. Josh Allen is good for one turnover and this week let’s make that two, or three, or four, or…ok that’s enough. The Jets have proven capable of shutting down elite quarterbacks and for some reason are in Allen’s head. Buffalo can beat them up on the ground but as long as the Jets ultimately get Allen to play goofy ball the Jets will have a legitimate chance to all but end the Bills season.

Why Buffalo Will Win

This team is too good to be 5-5 and they are way too good to be 5-6. They are a substantially better football team than the Jets, as they were the Broncos, as they were the Patriots, as they were the Jaguars. The Ken Dorsey to Joe Brady change is an uber wildcard and one that could go two ways but for this week, the unknown may be enough to beat the Jets. Expect the Bills playbook to be mostly the same but with enough variation where it’s noticeable and makes Allen more comfortable in a game where Superman needs to be Superhuman.

On the other side of the ball, McDermott has been a master schemer the past few weeks regardless of the Bills injuries. For Buffalo though, it comes to winning in the middle of the defense which just so happens to be the place where their two best players reside, Ed Oliver and Terrel Bernard. Slow down Breece Hall. Slow down Breece Hall. Slow down Breece Hall. Force Zach Wilson to beat you and at the end of this game we should be able to say, Wilson didn’t beat the Bills.

Prediction: Bills 21 – Jets 17

For me, the most frustrating part about writing these previews is I truly trust and believe what I am writing and upon review am validated by it. That validation hasn’t extended to these predictions though. That being said, I will continue to pick the Bills when I truly believe the Bills are the better team, and the Bills are a better team than the Jets. This week I expect the Bills offense to struggle at times, because the Jets defense is really good, but ultimately do just enough to support a decent effort by the defense. The Bills need this game and if they get this game, and some help, they will have the opportunity to turn their season around fairly quickly.

Lifelong Bills fan who's obsession reached a new level in the past decade. Began writing about the Bills in 2019 and since then have produced more than 125 Articles. Lover of statistics and leverages Software Engineering skills to manipulate data and create 'applications' for Bills Mafia!

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