It’s time for the New York Jets to kick off their season, and they head to Orchard Park to play the Buffalo Bills in their first AFC East matchup. It’s going to be a tough opening matchup based on the Bills strength, and that’s their defense.
Teams win more consistently based on offense these days. So, the Jets are going to need their offense to step up — from their bottom of the league ranking in 2019 — if they want to win this game.
Let’s take a look at the most important players that will determine whether or not the team will win on Sunday.
3. Sam Darnold
Many people will always put the quarterback at the top of the list, because he’s one of two players that touches the ball on every snap. His success is a very important factor. By all accounts he’s had an up and down camp, and for the Jets sake, let’s hope that doesn’t translate to the field Sunday.
In terms of his success dictating the outcome, Darnold is going to need to process the information more quickly, and get the ball out quickly too. He’s the engine for the offense, and will be a huge factor, but, for the most part this season, he won’t be the primary x-factor.
2. Mekhi Becton
Mekhi Becton is a large man, and he’s the blindside protector of Darnold. The Jets haven’t had consistent solid play from that position since the retirement of D’Brickashaw Feruson. Left tackle is the second-most important position on the offensive line (just behind center — another position the Jets have had issues filling and hope they have this season).
Becton is a work in progress in the passing game, but all accounts from camp have him making big strides (no pun intended) in that area throughout camp. If he can be a major reason why Darnold has the time to scan the field, this could lead to Jets success in Buffalo.
1. Christopher Herndon IV
Tight end-centric passing games are becoming en vogue in the NFL. Three teams had major offensive success by building their passing games around the position in 2019, and two of them played in the Super Bowl. The wide receiver group for the Jets is one of the weakest, on paper, in the NFL.
However, they’ve been banged up in camp (which may have attributed to Darnold’s inconsistent camp). So, the Jets’ tight end group is going to be important, and Herndon is the guy there. With Jamison Crowder being the only wide receiver the Jets know they can count on in Buffalo, Herndon’s ability on all levels will be crucial for the Jets to come out victorious at Bills Stadium.