The NFL schedule-makers seem to get better each year, resulting in back-to-back primetime division games in Week 1 that will be capped off with the New York Jets hosting Buffalo. The Bills have won five of six against the Jets, but 2022 produced a more evenly-matched pair of games between these rivals.
New York defeated Buffalo at home last November as 10.5-point underdogs in their first tussle. The Jets were down 14-3 in the third quarter and allowed just three points the rest of the way before Greg Zuerlein drilled a 28-yarder to take the lead for the final time. The Bills took the second game on home turf but failed to cover the spread again when the Jets scored late to bring the final score within eight points.
Both games were hard-fought battles for every yard, and the Jets outgained the Bills in the series last year despite struggling to put points on the board. Bills were favored by double-digits in both matchups last year, but the point differential was 37-32 in favor of Buffalo.
One overarching storyline should change things in a big way for the Jets this year: their offseason acquisition of Aaron Rodgers. The future Hall of Fame quarterback’s addition to the New York offense is the elephant in the room and likely a big reason for the Bills being favored by less than a field goal on Monday.
He has been the focal point of a lot of hype, leading to the team being projected to win 9.5 games by sportsbooks and the seventh favorite to win the Super Bowl. New York hasn’t made the playoffs since 2010, when they lost their second of two straight AFC title games.
Stefon Diggs caused a stir for the Bills by missing minicamp but has been fully involved in training camp and was voted team captain for the third straight year. Buffalo is yearning to break through this season and make their first Super Bowl appearance since 1993. They’re listed as +900 to win it all, trailing the Chiefs and Eagles heading into the season.
We’ve prepped a pair of prop plays for the first Monday Night Football of the season, brought to you by PrizePicks, and look forward to what will be an exciting game.
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Josh Allen OVER 35.5 Rushing Yards
Across their two meetings last season, Allen rushed 19 times for 137 yards and three touchdowns as the leading ball carrier for the Bills’ offense.
The Jets were third in the NFL in QB pressure rate at 25.4% and second in QB knockdowns a year ago, which should again contribute to Allen’s willingness to run as the pocket breaks down.
Allen was sacked eight times during two meetings in 2022, and New York drafted a first-round defensive end in Will McDonald IV to make this group even more fearsome.
Allen Lazard OVER 38.5 Receiving Yards
This familiar target of Rodgers increased his targets, receptions, and receiving yards to career-high levels in 2022 before departing Green Bay to continue to catch passes from one of the greats.
Hard Knocks has featured Rodgers’ developing relationship with 2022 Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson, but we aren’t overlooking the history between these two.
If the Bills are vulnerable in one area, it will be against the pass. Mike White threw for 268 yards in their December meeting last year, and Rodgers should get opportunities to spread the ball around. We like Lazard to have at least 50 yards in his first game as a Jet.