At long last the New York Jets will kick off the 2020 NFL season this Sunday when they head west to take on the team that some view as the favorite to win the division in the Buffalo Bills. Despite being division rivals, it would be fair to say that the two teams didn’t ever see a true version of their opponents last season. The Bills faced a mono infected Sam Darnold in week 1 while the Jets beat the Bills practice squad in week 17 when Buffalo rested their regulars. What will week 1 bring this year? Let’s take a look at the key details and matchups.
Where: Bills Stadium, Orchard Park, NY
When: Sunday @ 1pm
Last meeting: Jets won 13-6 in week 17 of the 2019 season
Jets All Time Series Record: 53-65
Last 10 meetings: 5-5
Line: Jets +6.5
TE Chris Herndon vs Bills safeties:
Herndon will be Darnold’s most important pass catcher in 2020 and he starts the season against formidable safety tandem in Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer. Herndon will be looking to capitalize on the chemistry he built with Sam Darnold as a rookie two seasons ago, but Hyde and Poyer won’t make it easy on him. As a rookie, Herndon faced the Bills twice and garnered a combined 4 receptions for 48 yards. If the Jets have any hope of moving the ball on Sunday they’ll need Herndon to come up bigger than that.
DT Quinnen Williams vs OG Quinton Spain:
Early (and apparently inaccurate) online Buffalo depth charts listed former Jet Brian Winters as a starter for the Bills at RG and we liked that matchup a lot. However, Buffalo killed that idea with a depth chart released yesterday that lists Winters as a backup with Cody Ford starting at RG. With that being the case, we’ll look over to left guard where Williams figures to get the majority of his reps against Quinton Spain. Spain looks better as a pass blocker than a run blocker on film, but he’s far from an elite talent, which is what Williams is supposed to be. If Williams dominates up front, it gives the Jets a much better chance of coming away with a win.
WR Denzel Mims vs CB Levi Wallace:
Josh Norman hasn’t been practicing all week due to injury which could mean Mims will make his NFL debut against Levi Wallace with Bills shutdown corner Tra’Davious White likely spending most of his day covering Breshad Perriman on the other side of the field. This means Mims draws the far inferior player and despite no reps against a live defense in camp, could be called upon to stretch the field and make some plays.
C Connor McGovern vs DT Ed Oliver:
One of Gang Green’s most important offseason additions, center Connor McGovern will be called upon to team up with his guards to neutralize Bills defensive lineman Ed Oliver who looked unstoppable at times last season. The whole idea behind adding McGovern was to stabilize the middle of the Jets O-line for matchups exactly like this. If McGovern Falters, it’ll be another long day for Sam Darnold.
CB Pierre Desir vs WR Stefon Diggs:
Diggs was Buffalo’s biggest offseason addition and he’ll be looking to make a difference early and often. Desir is looking to bounce back from a down season in 2019 after playing at a high level the year before. Given Diggs’ deep ball ability and Josh Allen’s arm strength, there’s every reason to expect several shots against an unproven Jets secondary.
RB Le’Veon Bell vs LB Tremaine Edmunds:
Jets head coach Adam Gase acknowledged his failings in not getting Le’Veon Bell involved in the offense as a receiver last season and said he’ll rectify it in 2020. If he hopes to do that against the Bills then Buffalo would likely counter with Edmunds who is one of the most versatile young defenders in the league.
Jets offense will be out of sorts with four new starting O-linemen and no preseason games to get live reps. Buffalo’s defense is one of the better units in the league and will look to smother Bell and pressure Darnold while the O-line finds its footing.
Bills 17 Jets 10