The New York Jets finish off their 2021-22 season facing the Buffalo Bills this Sunday. The odds currently do not favor the Jets as Vegas money lines are predicting a blowout. The Buffalo Bills are currently favored by 16.5 points over the Jets—not exactly a nail-biter. However, there is a path to success for the Jets this weekend, as they could shock NFL fans by upsetting their in-state rivals.
1. Eliminate turnovers. Zach Wilson struggled with turnovers during the first half of the season. However, over the past four weeks, Wilson hasn’t thrown a single interception. While Wilson’s interception-less stretch has only resulted in one win, the Jets nearly defeated both the Saints and the Buccaneers. If the Jets are to win, Wilson needs to eliminate turnovers. Of course, Wilson will have some errant throws and bad decisions, but if he can go the whole game without fumbling or throwing an interception, the Jets chances to win increase astronomically.
2. Establish the run. Throughout the season, the Jets have struggled to run the ball effectively. On the season, the Jets are the 24th ranked rush offensive averaging only 101.2 rush yards per game. However, recently the Jets have found a rhythm on the ground, and over the past three weeks, they have been the NFL leader in tush yards per game averaging 175 rush yards per game. As we’ve seen, the past three weeks have resulted in much closer games for the Jets. Effectively moving the ball on the ground opens the passing attack for Wilson and decreases the number of opportunities for the defense to intercept the ball.
3. In terms of passing, Josh Allen hasn’t been playing his best recently. Over the past 4 weeks, Allen has thrown 5 interceptions, and since the start of December, Allen has only recorded one quarterback rating over 92. Last week Allen struggled mightily against the Falcons when he tossed 3 interceptions, threw for only 120 yards, and recorded no touchdowns. However, the Bills have continued winning largely due to Allen’s rushing ability. Last week Allen ran for 80 yards and two touchdowns. Since the beginning of December Allen has been averaging 63 yards on the ground each game and has an additional 3 touchdown runs. Allen is a large part of the Bills running game as running backs Devin Singletary and Zack Moss have combined for only one 100-yard game this season. If the Jets want to win this game or even keep it close, they must limit the damage that Josh Allen delivers on the ground and keep the Bills offense moving through the air.
While it may seem like a long shot, the Jets do have a path to winning this game. As outlined above, there are three main keys to victory for the Jets in week 18. If the Jets can deliver on all three—eliminating turnovers, establishing the run, and keeping Josh Allen from running—not only could the Jets keep this game close, but they also could enjoy one of the biggest upsets of the 2021-22 NFL season.