Starting with this week’s Thursday Thought, I’m going to do a series where I compare the offense and defense of the Bills with each team’s offense and defense in the AFC East. I’ll go through each position and decide which team has the edge at that position, and then I’ll decide which team has the better unit. This is going to be a six-week series that I’m hoping will spark some good dialogue. With that being said let’s get into this week’s Thursday Thought: Team Battle Edition: Bills offense versus the Jets offense.
This has been a heated debate now for weeks, Sam Darnold versus Josh Allen, who’s better? I see these two quarterbacks equally, as they have each shown flashes and moments of brilliance. They each have had their fair share of great games and not so great games. However, this considers not just the starters but the overall depth of the position group.
For the Bills behind Allen is Matt Barkley who’s been a solid backup quarterback for Buffalo the past two seasons. The Bills also just draft Jake Fromm out of Georgia who has abilities to develop into a solid backup as well. For the Jets, their backup situation was a huge problem last year. After Darnold was out with mono, they had an array of quarterbacks who were pressed into action, who all struggled. Going into this season they have Matt White, David Fales, and rookie James Morgan. If Darnold misses games again this season, it could spell trouble for the Jets.
The Jets have the best running back in the entire division in Le’Veon Bell, who seemed to be a forgotten player last season. When Bell is at his best he’s as dynamic of a running back as you can get. With the ageless veteran in Frank Gore and rookie LaMical Perine, the Jets have a very formidable backfield. The Bills have a young star in Devin Singletary along with rookie running back Zack Moss. This should be a nice one-two punch for Buffalo.T.J. Yeldon is also a solid veteran, who can make some plays in the passing game. However, with an improved Jets offensive line, Bell could have a big bounce-back year this season and prove why he’s one of the best in the league.
Not much to say here other than the Jets don’t have a fullback on the roster and Bills have two in Pat DiMarco and Reggie Gilliam.
Advantage (by default): Bills
The Bills have arguably the AFC’s best wide receiver group, with Stefon Diggs, John Brown, and Cole Beasley. All three are very accomplished veterans who all bring a big-play ability to the Bills offense. Throw in rookie Gabe Davis, Andre Roberts, and Isaiah McKenzie, the Bills have a deep and capable receiving core. For the Jets, Jamison Crowder was as good as advertised. He was a reliable slot option for Darnold on a team that struggled offensively a season ago. Rookie Denzel Mims and veteran Breshaud Perriman are both intriguing players that could offer a lot of upside for the Jets. However, these are two very unproven players in this league. Along with okay depth that includes former first-round pick Josh Doctson and return man Braxton Berrios, the Jets wide receivers remain one of the biggest question marks on the roster.
The Jets have a few young options at tight end that are promising. Chris Herndon is a young but supremely athletic tight end who was suspended and then placed on IR last season. However, he showed a lot of potential his rookie season and could be a weapon for the Jets. Ryan Griffin was a very reliable player for the Jets last season as he had 34 receptions and five touchdowns last season. Both players could be a nice combination together. Additionally, Tevon Wesco is a solid blocking tight end.
The Bills are in a similar position. Dawson Knox showed a ton of upside his rookie season finishing second in receiving yards amounts all rookie tight ends in 2019. Tyler Kroft was injured for the majority of the 2019 season and could be a bigger contributor in 2020. Tommy Sweeny and Lee Smith offer good blocking ability too. All in all, both teams are good but not great at this position and have some question marks as well.
Advantage: No one, Push
Both teams have taken a similar philosophy in rebuilding their offensive lines, as it was quantity over quality. The Jets brought in many different linemen this offseason including, Mekhi Becton, Greg Van Roten, Connor McGovern, and George Fant. All of which should improve their offensive line that was one of the worst units in 2019. The Bills return their entire offensive line that was good, not great in 2019. Mitch Morse is the star of the unit as he’s one of the better centers in football. Dion Dawkins and Cody Ford are high upside tackles, and Quinton Spain and John Feliciano are steady veteran guards. However, when it comes down to it, the Bills have better depth and continuity over the Jets.
Overall, both offenses are not elite by any means. They have their question marks, especially at quarterback as both Darnold and Allen have a lot of pressure to perform well in 2020. However, the Bills are returning their entire offense from a season ago and added Stefon Diggs to the mix. The Jets have some intriguing young players, but with the offensive line and wide receivers still a question mark, it’s tough to say that their offense, on paper, is better than Buffalo.
Offensive advantage: Bills
Mitch Broder is a contributor for The Buffalo Fanatics. To contact him, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mitchell_broder