The New York Jets stunned the football world when they upset the Buffalo Bills just over a month ago, 20-17.
New York forced two key turnovers, and gained over 170 yards on the ground, while Zach Wilson outplayed Josh Allen in the Jets win.
Much has changed since New York’s upset though. Robert Saleh made a quarterback change after an abysmal showing from Wilson, and the Jets’ offense has picked it up since then. In the last two games alone, New York has recorded a combined 954 yards of offense while going 1-1 against the NFC North.
The emergence of Mike White at quarterback has helped solidify the Jets’ offense as an underrated unit in football. But their opponent on Sunday is familiar with ending the White experience.
Just last season, while Wilson had been dealing with an injury, the Bills picked off White four times in a 45-17 blowout loss in mid-November.
Coming off an upset win against a division rival that is also an NFL power is always a challenge. Gameplanning against a team loaded with talent, and finally healthy as the Bills is even more so.
“They’re loaded. Very well coached, there are a lot of the same principles. The tendencies have changed here and there but they are still who they are.” Saleh told reporters Wednesday before practice.
The Jets’ head coach also understands that the team’s previous success on defense against an All-Pro quarterback like Josh Allen is far more difficult to duplicate on Sunday.
“They’re so well coached. They are coming off 10 days of rest so we just have to play with a level of relentlessness in regard to the play rhythm and the playoff schedule. You’re not defending a three-second player, you’re defending for 7,8,9 seconds.”
Gang Green’s coaching staff isn’t unfamiliar with top-division matchups. With most coming from the San Francisco 49ers just a few seasons ago, the division games between the Rams, 49ers, and Seahawks were among the best in NFL history.
That familiarity between teams can cause rivalries to blossom in the NFL with playoff spots on the line. For Saleh and the AFC East, that’s exactly how he likes it.
“I believe the AFC East is the best division in football,” he explained. “The Patriots aren’t going anywhere and Buffalo and Miami are so talented and very well coached. Every game is just an absolute war.”
For the Jets to win on Sunday, changing their system or game-planning for something new isn’t always the right answer. Robert Saleh understands this, as does his team. But stopping an offensive juggernaut like the Bills’ offense is far easier said than done.