The hotly contested AFC East has been an exciting division to keep track of this season, and two of its teams will do battle again on Sunday. The New York Jets will travel upstate to take on the Buffalo Bills. The Jets fought hard in Week 13 on the road against the Minnesota Vikings, but came up short by a final score of 27-22. Buffalo was able to get by another division foe in Week 13, beating the New England Patriots 24-10.
The Jets and Bills met once earlier this season, with New York picking up a 20-17 victory.
We’ll take a look at a few keys to a game that may go a long way in deciding who wins the AFC East.
The Mike White Factor
The level of enthusiasm and support surrounding Jets quarterback Mike White has been tangible, considering that fan base’s desire to receive competent play from their signal caller. So far in two games, White hasn’t been afraid to push the ball down the field, and get some of New York’s young talented offensive weapons the ball. Wide receiver Garrett Wilson appears to be revitalized after the team decided to go to White as the starter before the Bears game.
While White has been a beacon of hope for many, it’s important to remember that he’s still pretty raw in terms of NFL experience. He had the opportunity to get into some games last season, including one against Buffalo. In his start against the Bills last year, White threw for 251 yards and four interceptions, which is a reminder that New York can’t expect to put everything on his shoulders.
Spotlight On The Ground Game
In their first matchup, both teams were able to rely on a steady ground attack. For Buffalo, a lot of that production came from the quarterback position, as Josh Allen scampered for 86 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Heading into the rematch, it’ll be fun to see if Jets head coach Robert Saleh puts a more athletic or determined spy on Allen to prevent him from taking off outside the pocket.
From New York’s vantage point, the makeup of their backfield has changed since that game. Michael Carter and James Robinson played well against Buffalo the first time out, but it seems like Zonovan Knight will figure prominently into the team’s plans on the ground for the foreseeable future. He’s been solid for the Jets in the last two weeks, posting 69 yards rushing against Chicago, and 90 yards on the ground against Minnesota.
Clash Of Stars On The Outside
Stefon Diggs is one of the premier pass catchers in the NFL, and the Bills know that they’re best served getting the ball into his hands as much as possible. Diggs has almost surpassed his entire 2021 yardage production in just 12 games this season, and already has the same amount of touchdowns he logged a year ago.
The Jets have an emerging star in cornerback Sauce Gardner, who has been as impressive as any rookie on defense in the league this year. Watching the two elite players try to best one another will be a fun subplot.