September 11, 2023
A look at tonight’s showdown
Talk about a spicy way to start the “Monday Night Football” slate for 2023. The Jets were the talk of the offseason, finally getting a deal done for quarterback Aaron Rodgers and bringing in a few of his friends to help catch the football. The Bills have suffered bitter playoff losses the last few years, and while many still view them as a Super Bowl contender, plenty are wondering if Josh Allen can eventually get them over the top and deliver an elusive Lombardi Trophy.
What to like about Buffalo -2.5…
- The Bills are 47-18 over the last four years and Allen simply wins games during the regular season. They went 13-3 in 2022 and all 13 wins came by at least three points, meaning if you think they’re going to be victorious, don’t be afraid of the spread. They won last year’s opener on the road in Los Angeles against the Rams by a final of 31-10, and that game kicked off the entire NFL season. They’re not afraid of the bright lights and have been on this type of stage before.
- Buffalo’s 6-2 mark on the road a season ago was the third best in the entire league, trailing only Kansas City (7-2) and Philadelphia (7-1). Those two met in the Super Bowl, so it’s pretty good company to keep. Three of those wins over the Rams, Patriots and Bears came by at least two touchdowns.
What not to like about Buffalo -2.5…
- One of those two Bills road losses last year was actually to these Jets, a 20-17 stunner in Week 9. And New York had Zach Wilson at quarterback that day, a guy who’s not exactly Rodgers, or frankly even close. Garrett Wilson, largely thought of as one of the best young wide receivers in the league, had eight catches for 92 yards.
- The Jets clearly have a huge chip on their shoulder, particularly Rodgers, and this could be a statement game. Things didn’t end well in Green Bay for the four-time NFL MVP and he wants to prove there’s still plenty left in the tank. He won “only” one Super Bowl with the Packers and is eager to get a second and join that elite club.
What to like about over 45.5 points…
- Just look at the star-power in this game! You have two of the top-10 QBs in the league in Allen and Rodgers and some might even say top-5. The Jets have an unbelievable RB duo in Breece Hall and the recently added Dalvin Cook and Wilson on the outside ready to become one of the top WRs on Earth. They also added Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb, who Rodgers is very comfortable with. Meanwhile, Allen returns Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis to go along with an elite offensive tight end in Dawson Knox. James Cook is a very solid RB1 and don’t sleep on Latavius Murray and Damien Harris as change of pace backs. There are plenty of big names suiting up to cover a middle of the road total.
What to like about under 45.5 points…
- There’s just something about these two teams getting together that makes it hard to produce points. Last year, they only went for 37 in their first meeting and just 32 in their second, neither one of those sniffed the 45.5 total. In 2021, their final meeting was a 27-10 Bills win, also getting to only 37 points. In the last three meetings, none have come close. Plus, in the Jets final five games of 2022 the combined scores were 32 points, 37 points, 22 points, 29 points and 17 points. Rosters change and it’s a new year, but recent history makes the under a little more tempting.
Preferred Prop: Gabriel Davis anytime touchdown scorer (+190)
- All eyes will be on Sauce Gardner and Diggs, and rightfully so. It’s a true No. 1 wide receiver versus perhaps the best cornerback in the NFL. And while we know Diggs will get his and Allen will look his way plenty, we also know that Allen has a ton of faith in Davis. He scored four touchdowns in a playoff game against the Chiefs in 2021 and announced to the world he knows how to find the end zone. He’ll find a way to reach past the goal line against the Jets.
Steve Quinne’s Pick: Bills -2.5
There are going to be growing pains in New York as Rodgers adjusts to the first new team of his illustrious career and things aren’t going to click right away. Sure, he’s reunited with Nathaniel Hackett as his OC, but Hackett’s offense was historically bad in Denver a season ago, getting him fired after just 15 games as head coach. One team has been together for several years, ready to finally reach the mountaintop. The other is just starting to gel, really only being together for the last seven weeks or so with training camp and the preseason. Don’t overthink how much chemistry matters, particularly in September. It’s something the Bills have right now and something the Jets don’t.