In what might be Mike White's final opportunity to start over Zach Wilson, as the rookie inches closer to his return from a right knee injury, the Jets have an opportunity to hand the first-place Bills their second loss in a row.
Last week, Buffalo was embarrassed by the lowly Jaguars, falling 9-6 in an ugly performance. Surely the Bills will be energized and ready to stuff the stat sheet on Sunday afternoon against New York's defense, right?
The Jets profile as an opponent that Buffalo can have their way with. New York has the worst defense in football in points allowed (31.4) and yards allowed (408.1) per game. They're missing countless key contributors due to injury, a list that now includes safety Marcus Maye (after last week's Achilles tear).
Plus, Buffalo's defense is arguably the best in football. The Bills allow a league-best total of 14.8 points per game and 262.6 yards per game. Seems like too tall of a task for the offense that has struggled mightily across the first half of the season, only hitting their stride in the last few weeks.
On paper, quarterback Josh Allen and this high-octane offense should explode in a dominant performance, running up the score while leaning on playmakers on both side of the ball. You know, a similar score to what happened back in Week 7 in New England.
But there's something about the way these Jets have been playing lately that lends me to believe that this game will be closer than many would've predicted weeks ago. Whether that's the magic of Mike White, the playcalling of Mike LaFleur or the all-around growth from this young roster—eager to prove themselves against another superior opponent—this won't be a blowout.
With that in mind, here's our weekly score prediction packaged with some analysis of how Gang Green will perform between the lines:
Max Goodman's prediction: Jets 20, Bills 30
Just because this won't be a blowout doesn't mean Buffalo won't be running away with a victory on Sunday afternoon.
We're talking about a Bills team that has limited opponents to nine and 11 points in the last two weeks. They've pitched two shutouts already this year as well.
Allen is a dual-threat quarterback and as much as New York is prepping properly to contain him, Gang Green's defensive line has been absent in recent weeks. When Allen moves the ball early, flexing his arm talent before scrambling and mixing in some rushing plays, it's going to be very difficult for the Jets' defense to stop Buffalo's play-action passes and playmaking ability.
In other words, New York's young defense will have their biggest challenge of the season in Week 10, facing a quarterback that singlehandedly take over a ballgame.
I think Allen will bounce back from last week's clunker, eclipsing 300 yards through the air with a few chunk gains on the ground as well. Perhaps New York's front gets into the backfield and messes with the quarterback's timing on occasion, but with an injury-riddled defense trying to cover Buffalo's trio of wide receivers, it's going to be tough to stop the Bills enough to keep the score in check.
The difference here is that the Jets have been rolling on offense lately. White and third-string QB Josh Johnson have led this team to 30-plus points and 485-plus yards of offense in each of their last two games. This historic stretch gives me more confidence that the Jets can at the very least put some points on the board, but keeping up with an opponent of this caliber is another level.
With White returning from last week's forearm injury, adding top wideout Corey Davis to the mix, expect more promising drives from the offense. I've got White throwing for 250 yards with a score, taking what the defense gives him while handing off to Michael Carter for another touchdown along the way.
For the second week in a row, it's hard to look past the turnover margin, though. Buffalo leads the league with a plus-11 margin in turnovers, racking up 19 takeaways (11 picks and eight fumble recoveries).
If White can hold onto the football and prevent the Bills from wreaking havoc, it might be a closer finish in the fourth quarter. But even with White's recent success, he hasn't been immune to the turnover bug. I think he'll throw two more interceptions on Sunday afternoon.
With a stretch of winnable games on New York's schedule following Sunday's showdown with the Bills—Miami, Houston and Philadelphia are next—the Jets will prove they've got what it takes to at least hang around with the big boys. I just can't envision an upset, barring another meltdown from the Bills.
- Ex-Jets’ Scout Says Mike White Proves Zach Wilson Is a Bust
- How the Jets Are Preparing to Stop Josh Allen and the Bills' Offense
- Amidst a Budding Quarterback Controvery, LaFleur Has Proven His Worth
- Zach Wilson Opens Up About Jets' Quarterback Situation, Knee Injury
- Will Corey Davis' Return From Injury Negatively Impact Elijah Moore?