Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) celebrates after catching a pass for a touchdown against the Houston Texans during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

Bills and Jets Kickoff Monday Night Football

“I grew up wanting to him on the football field.” Those were the words two-time Pro Bowler Josh Allen used to describe fellow quarterback and Monday night opponent Aaron Rodgers.

Allen has been one of the league’s top gunslingers since he entered the league in 2018. The former Wyoming Cowboy has modeled aspects of his game off Rodgers. That has clearly paid off, as Allen is widely regarded as a top quarterback in the league. Allen specifically mentioned improving his stance and foot movement after asking Rodgers for advice after a preseason game.

As brilliant as the Bills’ QB has been, he and his squad have never gotten over the hump. Buffalo has won the AFC East and made the playoffs four years in a row, but has yet to win the AFC with Allen. Their first hurdle in toppling the Chiefs, Bengals, and rest of the conference is a Monday Night Football test against the revamped Jets.

The Jets made the signing of the offseason when they snatched Aaron Rodgers away from Green Bay in July. Rodgers, a surefire future Hall-of-Famer, will play his first game in a new shade of green with lofty expectations. The Jets have not made the playoffs since 2010. However, 2023/24 is the year that fans and experts alike expect them to finally return. Coach Robert Saleh returns a stellar defense and now boasts an offensive supporting cast that features Garrett Wilson, Dalvin Cook, Breece Hall and Allen Lazard.

Rodgers believes his team is ready and is excited to get things going in year 19.

“I feel like we just needed something to galvanize– I’m not saying I’m it– I’m just saying there’s an energy that’s kind of surrounded me and the team has picked up on it and it’s a good feeling.” That’s what Rodgers had to say regarding the 2023/24 Jets and the buzz surrounding the franchise for the first time in a while.

Bills and Jets Key Players

DL Quinnen Williams– NYJ

Expect big performances from Williams, one of the league’s best linemen all season. Monday night, he should have his ears pinned back trying to get at Allen, as the Bills will likely feature a pass-heavy offense. If Williams and the rest of the Jets’ pass rush can speed up Allen, it will be a huge help for the Jets’ already strong secondary.

WR Stefon Diggs– BUF

The star receiver raised eyebrows when he missed a day of camp and rumors circulated about him being unhappy in Buffalo this offseason. Fortunately for Bills Mafia, the receiver returned and shut down any rumors of wanting out. He’s going to have to bring his A-game Monday night, as he’ll be matched up with one of the NFL’s brightest young players, Sauce Gardner.

RT Mekhi Becton– NYJ

Becton will have a tall task tonight against a fearsome Bills pass rush unit. He’ll spend his night trying to block Pro Bowlers Leonard Floyd and Ed Oliver. If Rodgers is going to have success tonight, he’ll need Becton and the rest of the offensive line to step up against a very good front seven.

RB James Cook– BUF

This game means a little more than most for James. The Bills’ RB1 will have his older brother, Dalvin, on the opposing sideline. While the Bills have an elite passing attack, their running game is much weaker and they’ll need Cook to step up this year to add a key dimension to the offense.

The Matchup

The Bills are two-point favorites as of Monday afternoon. However, the game being at MetLife will certainly help the Jets, as Buffalo is one of the toughest road environments in the NFL. It’s hard to say whether this one will be high or low-scoring, as both teams have stars littered on both sides of the ball. The O/U currently sits at 44.5.

This game will be a special one. It falls as a standalone game on the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. This one will mean something deeper to all involved, especially because these teams’ fans are based so close to the area of the attacks.

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