These clubs look to be closely matched, so oddsmakers installing the home team as a three-point favorite is understandable. But I think a decent case can be made that the Bills are slightly better. It starts with a defense returning 10 starters and capable of keeping big plays to a minimum. That tends to hold up well on the road.
The Bills’ many offensive upgrades might not show up as quickly, but they should allow the team to capitalize enough on the gambles the Jets will likely take with their heavy blitzing to come away with the win. Bills, 23-17.
This game provides a great opportunity for the Bills to establish themselves as true AFC playoff contenders. Maybe it’s big-market bias, but New York has been picked to finish ahead of Buffalo by most national prognosticators. The Jets’ offseason mirrored that of the Bills in many ways, but there was one key difference: The Jets replaced both their general manager and head coach this offseason. There should be some growing pains involved with that – which the Bills need to take advantage of.
Buffalo’s defense returns 10 starters, and the offense has been rebuilt around second-year quarterback Josh Allen. While the lack of practice time together for the starting offensive line is a concern, the offense should be better than it was a year ago. That should be enough to pull out a win. Bills, 24-20.
I'm picking the Bills to finish ahead of the Jets this season, but I don't know if the Bills' offense is ready to outscore the Jets in Week One. I think the Bills will need more than 225 passing yards from Josh Allen and two or fewer turnovers to win. That's not unreasonable. The concern is, I don't know what to expect from the offensive line right out of the gate in a game where their protection schemes are going to be severely tested. I think Sam Darnold is going to use the no-huddle to get a quick score on the Bills. I have a bit more faith in Darnold than Allen at this point. Jets, 24-20.
It’ll be interesting to see what Le’Veon Bell is able to accomplish against a Bills defense that returns 10 starters but was middle-of-the-pack in rushing yards allowed last season. It seems fair to expect a good deal of rust, considering the Jets’ superstar running back sat out the entire preseason and hasn’t played in a competitive game in more than a year.
Buffalo’s rebuilt offensive line will need to give Josh Allen some time to make plays, which is no sure thing considering the Jets’ stout defensive front. He’ll need to avoid costly turnovers. Bills, 23-21.
This seems like too predictable of a matchup, between two teams with second-year quarterbacks, proven running backs (Frank Gore with the Bills and Le’Veon Bell with the Jets) and two teams that are going to duke it out for second, third (or even fourth?) in the AFC East.
But the Bills will find a certain stride early, against the new-look Jets (new coach, new general manager, new personnel such as Bell and linebacker C.J. Mosley). Josh Allen and the offense have nowhere to go but up, as far as production goes, and the Bills’ defense will be formidable. Bills, 23-17.