The arrival of four-time NFL Most Valuable Player Aaron Rodgers has been the talk of the town in New York this summer. And with the future Hall of Fame quarterback on board, Jets fans are dreaming of a first Super Bowl appearance since the 1968 season.

Putting the rather gigantic Rodgers news to one side for a moment, this Jets team would have garnered plenty of attention in their own right this season. They showed great signs of promise in 2022, boasting some exciting young players including the Offensive Rookie of the Year in wide receiver Garrett Wilson and the Defensive Rookie of the Year in cornerback Sauce Gardner.

But Rodgers taking charge of an offense that ranked 29th in scoring a year ago has raised expectations to a new level. A return to the playoffs for the first time since the 2010 campaign should be on the cards and why not put the Jets in that Super Bowl conversation?

It won’t be an easy start out of the gate in what promises to be a fiercely-competitive AFC East as the Buffalo Bills head into the Big Apple on what is sure to be an emotionally-charged atmosphere on September 11.

The Jets can certainly take heart from the fact they beat the Bills 20-17 in New York in Week 9 last season. These are the kind of games the Jets are going to need to win if they are to prove they are for real. So, while one game does not make a season, this will be a chance for the Jets to lay down a marker and make the rest of the AFC sit up and take notice.

New York Jets Player to Watch

Dalvin Cook – Running Back… Aaron Rodgers would have been the obvious one, but I’m fascinated to see how Dalvin Cook is mixed into the New York offense as fellow running back Breece Hall works his way back from the knee injury that prematurely ended his rookie season. Cook was deemed surplus to requirements in Minnesota so the NFL world will be watching to see what the 28-year-old has to offer. To have any doubt at all about his chances of success feels disrespectful – Cook is a four-time Pro Bowler with four straight 1,100-yard rushing seasons under his belt. He will make a positive impact in New York.

Buffalo Bills Player to Watch

Josh Allen – Quarterback… There is no doubt that Allen is the driving force of the Bills and the cannon-armed passer who can also hurdle defenders and make key runs downfield has firmly established himself as one of the very best in the game. He is a talent who can change games on his own. Allen won 52 regular season games in his first five years in the NFL – the most ever for a player before the age of 27. And from 2020 to 2022, Allen accounted for 130 touchdowns – most in the NFL during that span.

Stat Attack!

Do the Jets have Josh Allen’s number? Against all other teams last year, Buffalo’s star quarterback threw for an average of 280.8 yards per game and posted a QB rating of 100.5. In those games, Allen was sacked an average of 1.8 times. In two games against the Jets, Allen averaged just 176.0 passing yards per game and had a rating of 64.4. He was sacked an average of 4.0 times per game when facing the Jets.

Keys to the game

The impact of Rodgers has to be felt on the offensive side of the ball, that’s for sure. How he connects week in and week out with the likes of Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard and Mecole Hardman will be key and I think we’re going to see that there is plenty of life in the old dog yet. The same can be said for the ground attack because there has to be balance in the New York attack. Will it be Dalvin Cook-led in Week 1 or can Breece Hall be impactful out of the gate? Much of the offensive success will depend on a unit with the most questions marks… the offensive line!

Over on defense, the Jets have to get pressure on Allen and make him uncomfortable. New York certainly have the quarterback hunters to do just that. And if Sauce Gardner can shut down Stefon Diggs, Allen and the Bills could be in for a difficult night. New York will look to frustrate Allen and make him impatient, forcing him to take risks in the passing game. When that happens, the Jets must strike against a quarterback who has thrown an NFL-high 29 interceptions over the last two seasons.