ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Buffalo Bills wrap up the regular season this weekend when they host the New York Jets on Sunday afternoon. The AFC East title is on the line as the Bills need a win or a Patriots loss to secure their second straight division crown.
Our 7 Sports team shares their final predictions ahead of Sunday's game.
With an AFC East title on the line, the Bills can't look past the Jets as they get ready for the postseason. As of late, the Jets have been playing some competitive football and took the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the brink last week. But in almost every facet of this matchup, the Bills have the advantage.
When these two teams met in early November, the Bills forced quarterback Mike White into several mistakes. On Sunday, the Bills defense will go up against Jets rookie Zach Wilson for the first time. After a slow start to the season, Wilson has strung together a decent final month of the season without any interceptions. Under Sean McDermott, the Bills have historically feasted on rookie quarterbacks and they'll hope to keep that trend going.
As for the Jets rushing attack, they've found success the last few weeks on the ground. Against the Bucs, New York ran for 150 yards. The week prior in Jacksonville, the Jets racked up a whopping 273 yards on the ground. If the Jets have success running the ball against the Bills' inconsistent run defense, they could hang around in this game.
But the Bills have too much firepower on offense. In their first matchup of the season, the Bills scored 45 points and all three Bills running backs that saw snaps on offense found the end zone. Stefon Diggs should also play a big role, as he looks to become the first Bills receiver to post multiple 100-catch seasons. If he reaches the 100-mark, he'll also hit a $658,333 bonus [according to Spotrac].
The Jets are playing better football and this won't be a walk in the park for the Bills. But with the way the Bills have been playing since the loss to Tampa Bay, they should end the season with a win and division title.
Bills 31, Jets 21
Season record: 11-5
It's the last week of the regular season and there's something to play for. You can't ask for anything better. The Bills are playing for a home playoff game, a division title, and their fourth straight win.
The New York Jets have improved since the last time they played the Bills back in week 10 and rookie QB Zach Wilson, who missed the last meeting with an injury, is playing much better in certain areas than his first six games of the season. His interception rate has gone down, his passer rating has gone up, and he looks much more comfortable than he did before his injury. But while the team has a rookie QB who's playing better, the team is still lacking in several areas and there's a pretty decent gap between their top players and the Bills top players.
The Bills offense, while slow at times, is finding new ways to win while the defense is applying pressure and showing no signs of struggle in the secondary, despite losing their top corner a few weeks back. Their level of play and execution will be too much for the Jets, who while held their own against Tampa Bay, won't be able to keep up with the Bills.
The Bills have the advantage in nearly every aspect, including playing at home in front of the best fan base in the league. They're going to send Bills Mafia home with a win and I think they'll be able to sit their starters with at least a quarter left in the game.
Bills: 26, Jets: 16
Season record: 12-4
Ever since the Bills got back control of their own destiny, they’ve emphasized treating every game like a playoff game. Since they came out swinging in the second half of the Tampa Bay game almost a month ago, this team has found ways to win. And I expect them to continue to do so.
The one thing that could kill the Bills is getting gashed by a long run on the ground. Michael Carter had a 55 yard run last weekend in Jacksonville. Zach Wilson turned a broken play into a 52 yard touchdown.
The Bills have allowed those types of runs more than anybody else in the NFL. See: Jonathan Taylor, Damien Harris, and Leonard Fournette, in that order.
On the other side of the ball, the Bills need to keep their own ground game moving and round out that part of their offense for when they take on better teams. It’s not a gimme, a dress rehearsal, or a tune-up this week, but instead, it’s another opportunity for Buffalo to figure itself out before it’s do or die next weekend.
Bills: 24, Jets: 10
Season Record: 11-5