A casual study of the New York Jets’ 2017 schedule could reasonably produce this conclusion: This team won’t be favored very often.
Visiting teams aren’t usually the betting favorite, and the Jets are a heavy underdog ahead of their Sunday afternoon visit to Buffalo against the Bills, another team not expected to be battling for a playoff spot in December. Still, a matchup against a weak, division rival is about as winnable a matchup as the Jets will see this year.
Here are three keys to Gang Green getting the job done and putting worries of a winless season to bed right away.
McCarry the weight
Josh McCown’s debut in green and white doesn’t come with great expectations, but he’s perfectly capable of navigating a potentially porous Bills secondary.
Although the Jets’ pass catchers aren’t putting the fear in anyone yet, a veteran quarterback like McCown figures to have the edge in this equation as long as wideout Robby Anderson and crew don’t commit too many drops.
Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor has the tools to keep the Jets’ defense honest. As one of the better dual-threat passers in the NFL, he completed 61.7 percent of his passes last season, throwing for 3,023 yards and rushing for 580 more in 15 games a year ago.
Darron Lee and the Jets linebackers must do what they can to contain Taylor to the pocket and allow the skilled pass rush to close in on him.
More from Mo
Muhammad Wilkerson is about to enter the lucrative years of his new contract, which will average $15.75 million in base salary through 2020. That’s a lot of cash coming the way of a player who managed just 4.5 sacks in 2016.
One of those rare sacks came against the Bills in Week 17 last season, and the Jets will need more of that against Buffalo to stifle momentum.