Playoff Aspirations on the Line: Bills and Jets Face Off in Crucial Divisional Battle

By Stephen Juza

November 18th, 2023

Entering Week 11, there are division matchups all around the league. This article examines one such divisional matchup that much of the country will watch on Sunday: the New York Jets versus the Buffalo Bills, delving into their historical confrontations as long-standing divisional rivals.

Current Season:

This game is a pivotal matchup for either team to prevent the season from slipping away. Both teams have fallen short of the preseason expectations and are eager to regain their momentum.

The Bills are hopeful that firing offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey can rejuvenate their struggling offense. The team entered the season with Super Bowl or Bust expectations, driven in part by the three consecutive AFC East titles and the conviction that Josh Allen was the second-best quarterback in the AFC. However, they currently hold the second position in the division at 5-5, and another loss against the Jets will place them at least two games behind the lead with six games remaining.

For the Jets, they entered the season with expectations of ending their playoff drought. They brought in future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers, retooled the offensive coaching staff, but it all came crashing to earth after only four plays when Rodgers tore his Achilles tendon in a season-opening win against the Bills. Since that victory, the Jets have posted a 3-5 record while averaging the third-fewest points a game (16.0) in the NFL. But a second victory against the Bills will keep them in the Wildcard hunt.

While the Jets took the initial game in the season series, the Bills are favored at many NY sportsbooks this Sunday. Despite the offensive struggles that led to Dorsey’s firing, they are still averaging 10 more points a game than the Jets offense.

Franchise History:

And while the Jets have won the most recent matchup, it’s a series that has traditionally been very even. The two franchises have been facing off since they both joined the American Football League (AFL) in 1960, the league’s inaugural year. The two rivals faced off in Week 1, with the Jets (then the Titans) taking the game 27-3.

Overall, the Bills lead the series 68-58, which includes the single playoff matchup between the two teams in the 1981 AFC Wildcard game. The Bills also hold the longest streak of victories between the two teams, ten consecutive wins from 1987-1992.

While the head-to-head matchup may be even, franchise success is not. While the Jets own the only Super Bowl victory between the two teams, the Bills have won 13 division titles to the Jets’ four, and have won four conference championships to the Jets’ one.

What to expect this weekend:

With both teams struggling on offense, but dominating on defense, expect a low-scoring affair between the two rivals. While the Jets’ struggles mean a constant stream of field goals, the Bills’ struggles will still manage a touchdown or two. Expect the Bills’ offense will be good enough to carry the home victory over the Jets, 20-12, splitting the season series, and putting them back on pace for a division showdown with the Dolphins in a few weeks.

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