NFL Odds, Picks, Betting Prediction: New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills Preview (Sept. 13)
Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Josh Allen
- The Buffalo Bills are about a touchdown favorite over the Jets in Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season.
- Can we expect Buffalo's defense to stay at its 2019 levels, and for Josh Allen to take a step forward?
- Brandon Anderson previews Jets vs. Bills and gives his pick.
Jets vs. Bills Odds
When the NFL kicks off its first main slate of the 2020 season this Sunday, 26 teams will finally play their first real football in many months, most of them for the first time in 2020. The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the NFL summer, eliminating intrasquad scrimmages and all preseason action.
With so much uncertainty, team continuity and familiarity will be king, especially early in the season. And that gives the Bills a huge edge against the Jets in Week 1.
New York Jets
The 2019 Jets were a tale of two halves. They began the year 1-7, thanks in part to three missed games from quarterback Sam Darnold with mono, but they closed the year on a tear, winning six of their final eight.
That closing stretch probably saved Adam Gase’s job, which means somehow these Jets are running it back for the new season with Darnold and Le’Veon Bell leading the way again.
The Jets had the league’s second-worst mark in Football Outsiders’ offensive DVOA last year, ahead of only the Steelers and their dearth of quarterbacks. Though the offensive skill players remain in place, the Jets re-made their offensive line with four new starters. It’s still have one of the league’s worst lines, though, and the unit has not played a snap together yet.
The Jets defense was the stronger unit but saw linebacker C.J. Mosley opt out and they traded safety Jamal Adams, leaving them short their two best defenders. Gregg Williams’ unit is aggressive but gets little pass rush and projects as one of the worst pass defenses in the league, especially against outside receivers down the field.
It could be a big debut for Buffalo’s prize acquisition, Stefon Diggs.
Diggs is the flashy new weapon of Buffalo’s offense, but outside of him, Buffalo returns largely the same team that won 10 games a year ago. The Bills have The Athletic’s highest continuity score in the NFL, returning all five starting offensive linemen along with QB quarterback Josh Allen and all the key coaches.
Buffalo’s defense has finished in the top six in DVOA two seasons in a row and has become the team’s clear calling card. That’s where Sean McDermott and Leslie Frazier do their best work, and the Bills are expected to be a top defensive unit again, this time as division favorites.
In many ways, Buffalo is expected to be what it was last year: A well-coached team with an outstanding defense and just enough offense, hopefully improved with the arrival of Diggs.
The Bills are certainly the better team, and their high level of continuity gives them an extra edge early in the season against teams still learning to play together.
The Jets offensive line will be a real problem in this game, especially against Tre’Davious White and the Bills terrific secondary. If the Jets can’t move the ball through the air, they’re stuck with last year’s terrible rushing attack.
I lean under on this game because of the lack of offense and tough D, even with a low line — these teams were under in both matchups last year, but went over in five of the previous six.
The Jets’ team Under at 16.5 is a bit more enticing. They scored 16 and 13 against Buffalo last year and went under 16.5 in nine games, while the Bills held opponents under 16.5 nine times too.
In the end, I expect Buffalo to win this game. And when the Bills win, they typically close things out well. Buffalo covered a 6.5-point spread in eight of their 10 wins last season, while the Jets failed to cover 6.5 points in eight of their nine losses.
I’m grabbing the 6.5 points before it jumps to that key number of 7, where it’s much less enticing (check out our updated NFL odds page to shop for the best number).
PICK: Bills -6.5 or better