The NY Jets are set to take on the Buffalo Bills in Week 1 as they kick off the 2020 season.
The NY Jets are now just a few days away from kicking off their 2020 season. And just as was the case last year, the Jets will take on their division rivals, the Buffalo Bills, in Week 1.
The two teams enter the season with very different expectations.
For the Bills, this is the first time in recent history that they are considered the odds-on favorites to win the AFC East. After a 10-win campaign in 2019, the Bills look improved and like one of the most complete teams in the AFC.
The Jets, on the other hand, have many more question marks.
A league-worst offense was bandaged in the offseason, but it’s hard to see any sort of substantial improvement in 2020. There are reasons for optimism, but there are significantly more reasons to be pessimistic.
Nonetheless, as we saw last year, Week 1 oftentimes proves to be the tone-setter for the year to come. And this season is no different with this Week 1 matchup between two division rivals being crucial.
To get a better look at the Jets’ opponents this week, we teamed up with Brandon Croce of BuffaLowDown. Brandon is an expert on all things Bills and he helped give us an idea of what to expect this week and the mindset of Bills fans going into the season-opener.
Here are the results of our discussion.
Next: 1. How do Bills meet lofty expectations?
1. The Bills enter the 2020 season with higher expectations than any year in recent memory. How do they avoid taking a step back and falling short of expectations?
We started off our conversation by discussing the Bills’ expectations in 2020. Buffalo finds themselves in uncharted territory going into the new season as division favorites.
After years of occupying the AFC East’s basement, the Bills have done an outstanding job of constructing a competitive roster that rivals some of the best in the conference.
But how do they avoid falling short of these expectations this season? That’s the question we posed to Brandon.
Here was his response.
“In all honesty, the only way I see this team taking a step backward is if they are hit with a rash of injuries to key players. If the Buffalo Bills are forced to play extended time without Tre’Davious White, Tremaine Edmunds, or even Josh Allen they are going to struggle.
The expectations are high but the Bills are bringing back almost every starter as well as the primary coaches on their coaching staff, have added Stefon Diggs along with depth on the offensive and defensive lines.
Sean McDermott has done a good job of keeping this team prepared and focused which should help keep them on track.”
Next: 2. Can Josh Allen silence his doubters?
2. Much like NY Jets’ quarterback Sam Darnold, Josh Allen is entering a crucial third year in the NFL. How do you see him doing in 2020? Do you think he’ll finally silence his critics?
Perhaps one of the lone question marks on a complete Bills team remains quarterback Josh Allen. Allen has improved immensely in his two NFL seasons and has shown flashes of being a top-10 quarterback.
But the issue with him continues to be a lack of consistency. And as such, he’s received his fair share of doubters and critics.
Bills fans are understandably still high on Allen, much as Jets fans are with Sam Darnold, so we decided to ask Brandon about his thoughts on his team’s quarterback.
“This is one of the more balanced offenses in the NFL when looking at their playmakers with a trio at wide receiver of Stefon Diggs, John Brown, and Cole Beasley and two good running backs with Devin Singletary and Zack Moss.
The first two years, Josh Allen has had to make plays on his own due in large part to a lack of talent around him. This was both good and bad because he made some highlight-reel runs and throw but also made some awful mistakes.
The biggest thing Josh Allen can do is not play “hero ball” trust his playmakers around him and get the ball to them quickly but understand an incompletion is better than an interception.
He started to do that more towards the end of last season and if he is able to continue that, then he will absolutely silence his critics this season.”
Next: 3. What role will Stefon Diggs play in Week 1?
3. How will the addition of Stefon Diggs affect the Bills’ offense and what role do you expect him to play in Week 1?
Arguably the biggest move the Bills made in the offseason was the acquisition of Stefon Diggs. For the first time in his career, Josh Allen now has a true No. 1 wide receiver to throw to each week.
Diggs will undoubtedly have a huge role in the offense not only this season but in Week 1 as well. We asked Brandon about his thoughts on Diggs and what we might see from him come Sunday.
“I think the New York Jets are going to get a heavy dose of Stefon Diggs on Sunday. All reports from training camp have been that Diggs is everything he was advertised to be and that Josh Allen and he have gotten on the same page early.
I don’t believe teams trade away what the Bills did to not get the ball frequently to their new wide receiver.
In terms of how he will affect the offense as a whole, he was the missing piece to truly unlock this passing attack. John Brown did a good job last year, breaking 1,000 receiving yards, but he isn’t a true number one wide receiver and there were times he would disappear.
Now that the attention is going to be put on Diggs, John Brown will get winnable one-on-one matchups. The speed they have on the outside also will open up the underneath that Cole Beasley excels in and should be that safety valve for Allen.”
Next: 4. Biggest concern about Week 1?
4. What is your biggest concern about this Week 1 matchup?
The Bills are the odds-on betting favorites this Sunday, and it isn’t hard to see why. But the Jets proved last year that they can hang with teams that are better than them.
Gang Green held a 16-0 lead at the half against the Bills last year in Week 1 and would have emerged victorious if it hadn’t been for a disastrous outing from Kaare Vedvik.
How can the Bills avoid falling victim to the trap game in Week 1? We asked Brandon what concerns him the most about his team’s season-opener.
“When looking at the two rosters, this is a game that the Buffalo Bills should win and I think win easily. The big wild card is how will they look with no preseason games to prepare for the regular season.
This shouldn’t be a huge issue since they did bring back most of their starters but it is a big unknown.
Looking at the Jets roster, their strongest position to me is that defensive line while the Bills do have some question marks on the right side of their offensive line.
I am a firm believer that games are won in the trenches and if the Jets defensive line can impose their will a bit here then the game will be closer than it should be.”
Next: 5. Final predictions
5. Final predictions — who do you see winning and what’s the final score?
The overwhelming consensus if that Buffalo should win on Sunday rather handily. But it’s important never to underestimate a division opponent.
We asked Brandon to give his final thoughts on the game and who he sees pulling off the victory. His response wasn’t too surprising.
“I mentioned it previously but I think the Buffalo Bills win this pretty easily. The familiarity between players, coaches, and schemes should help in a year with limited practices and no preseason.
The Jets have had more turnover and in terms of talent, I don’t believe they are on the same level. I think the first half is going to be a lot of ugly football but the Bills pull away in the second half and win 24-10.”
He makes a great point in that the Bills will absolutely have the advantage when it comes to familiarity and already established chemistry.
Given the extensive amount of turnover in the offseason, the Jets will find themselves at a disadvantage early on following an offseason where the team had very little time to build rapport with one another.
Meanwhile, the continuity in the Bills’ starting lineup should prove invaluable and could end up being the difference-maker in Week 1. We’ll see what happens come Sunday, but it’s hard to disagree with his analysis.
Special thanks again to Brandon for his help and make sure to check out more of his work over at BuffaLowDown.