Jordan Whitehead #3 of the New York Jets celebrates his...

Jordan Whitehead #3 of the New York Jets celebrates his third quarter interception against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium on Monday, Sep. 11, 2023 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Few defenses have frustrated Josh Allen and made him seem uncomfortable in the way the Jets have during the past two seasons.

So what’s their secret?

“Good luck,” defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich said.

The Jets, however, have made their own luck against the Bills’ All-Pro quarterback.

Allen has been sacked 13 times and has thrown five interceptions in the last three meetings of the AFC East rivals — two of them Jets wins. The plan is to continue harassing him on Sunday in Buffalo in what is a virtual must-win game.

The Jets (4-5) have lost two straight and haven’t scored a touchdown in 11 consecutive quarters plus an overtime. Yet with a win, they would jump ahead of Buffalo (5-5) and move into second place in the AFC East. They also would earn the tiebreaker over the Bills.

If things fall right, the Jets could be facing Miami on Black Friday for first place in the division.

“We got a lot of divisional games coming up,” tight end Tyler Conklin said. “We still got everything ahead of us. People are acting like it’s the end of the world.”

Well, the Jets’ sorry offense has created that.

They are 1-for-14 in the red zone in the past five games. In their last 36 offensive series, they have produced 24 points on eight field goals by Greg Zuerlein. Penalties cost them a touchdown and two more trips into the red zone in last Sunday’s 16-12 loss to the Raiders.

Members of the Jets’ offense held each other accountable on Tuesday in a players-only meeting. Robert Saleh added that there would be some personnel changes.

Rookie running back Izzy Abanikanda will make his NFL debut and tight end Jeremy Ruckert could be used more with C.J. Uzomah starting to get phased out.

Additional changes could be made to spark the offense, which is expected to have receiver Garrett Wilson (although he was limited in practice with an elbow injury). If the Zach Wilson-led group keeps floundering, Saleh could make a change at quarterback.

“We’ve had our struggles, but we’re all confident,” Conklin said. “We all know what we can do as an offense.”

Although Buffalo has its own issues, the Jets likely will have to score touchdowns to win.

The Bills have dropped two straight and have a new offensive coordinator. They fired Ken Dorsey on Tuesday and replaced him with quarterbacks coach Joe Brady.

Despite the change, Buffalo ranks seventh in total offense, averaging 26.2 points and 307.1 yards per game. The Jets’ offense has scored more than 20 points only once this season.

“Until we’re perfect,” Ulbrich said of the defense, “there’s not going to be any finger-pointing.”

The defense’s focus: continuing to flummox Allen. He is tied for the NFL lead with 19 touchdown passes but also has thrown a league-high 11 interceptions with 14 total turnovers.

Safety Jordan Whitehead picked off Allen three times in the Jets’ 22-16 overtime win in Week 1. Whitehead, who has intercepted Allen four times in three games, said he’s “itching for another.”

“He gives the defense opportunities, but he also can bring a lot of noise to the defense,” Whitehead said. “You can’t sleep on him because those interceptions can turn to touchdowns.”

Ulbrich said Allen has “a little bit of Superman in him” because he can take over games with his arm and legs. Allen has rushed for seven touchdowns, one fewer than the Jets’ total amount of offensive TDs (five passing, three rushing).

Allen had his lowest passer rating of the season against the Jets last year (46.8) and second-lowest this season (62.7) in Week 1. He has 588 passing yards, two touchdowns and a rating of 63.7 in the teams’ last three meetings.

The Jets’ attack-style defense has frustrated other top quarterbacks. Saleh made headlines earlier this season, saying the Jets have “embarrassed” many elite quarterbacks. The last QB to have a 300-yard passing game against the Jets was Tom Brady on Jan. 2, 2022 — a streak of 27 games.

“We play a style of defense that really forces you to earn every inch and take the long road down the field,” Ulbrich said. “We do have tools in our toolbox that if he gets going, we’ll have an answer to that.”

The Jets’ pass defense ranks third in the NFL. They have allowed an average of 218.7 passing yards in the last three games and are confident that their aggressive front combined with their strong coverage skills in the secondary can rattle Allen again.

“He’s one of the few quarterbacks that can make every throw on the field,” cornerback D.J. Reed said. “He feels confident about his arm. He makes miraculous plays at times. Sometimes it can bite him in the butt because he tries to make the miraculous play.”

Allen has big-play guys around him, too. Stefon Diggs is the only receiver to catch a touchdown pass against the Jets this season. Sauce Gardner and Reed should share time on Diggs. The Jets also have to be aware of rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid, who has 28 catches and two touchdowns in the last four games.

But ultimately, everything starts with stopping Allen.

“At times he has gotten us. At times we’ve gotten him,” Ulbrich said. “It’s going to be a battle. It’s going to be awesome.”

Sunday’s Game
JETS (4-5) at BILLS (5-5)
Highmark Stadium, 4:35 p.m.


Line: Bills by 7; O/U 40
TV: CBS (Jim Nantz, Tony Romo)
Radio: ESPN-98.7 FM (Bob Wischusen, Marty Lyons); Sirius XM 138 or 382.
All-time series: Bills lead, 67-58 (Jets have won 2 of last 3).
Last meeting: Sept. 11, 2023, (at) Jets 31, Bills 16.KEY INJURIES
Jets: OUT: OL Billy Turner (finger), LB Chazz Surratt (ankle), OT Duane Brown (hip), LB Sam Eguavoen (hip), TE Kenny Yeboah (hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: WR Garrett Wilson (elbow), DE Will McDonald (ankle), CB Michael Carter (hamstring).
Bills: QUESTIONABLE: DT Jordan Phil- lips (knee), WR Trent Sherfield (ankle).

The Jets could give themselves a chance in Buffalo if they can get out of their own way.

Penalties have greatly affected their ability to score touchdowns lately. The Jets are averaging 8.3 penalties in the last three games – the third-most in the NFL in that time.

The Jets have not scored a touchdown in more than 11 quarters – a total of 2.49:57 of game time.

They’ve committed 12 offensive penalties during their two-game losing streak. They have cost the Jets 99 yards of offense, one touchdown, five first downs and two red-zone trips.

Robert Saleh promised personnel changes as well as schematic changes. One could be using Breece Hall more in the passing game.
Hall has just seven grabs for 57 yards in the last two games – both losses. He caught 11 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown the prior two – both wins.

Zach Wilson’s has not thrown a touchdown in his last 114 pass attempts and just one in his last 191 throws. That stretches more than five games.
In his career, Wilson has thrown 20 touchdown passes in 931 attempts. His 2.1 percent touchdown rate is the lowest in NFL history for quarterbacks with at least 900 attempts.

“I wouldn’t say it’s crunch time or nail-biting time, but being in this league loing enough we understand what these games mean.”
- Linebacker C.J. Mosley on playing back-to-back games against division rivals Buffalo and Miami

Mosley needs four tackles to reach 100 for the third straight year and six times in eight NFL seasons.

Yards the Jets have allowed to receivers this season. It’s the lowest in the league. Only one receiver has a touchdown catch against the Jets: Buffalo’s Stefon Diggs in Week 1.

More Jets


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