It's a battle of strength versus strength.
The New York Jets' pass defense and the Buffalo Bills' passing game are both top-tier units. The Jets limit opponents to 5.35 yards per pass play, the second-lowest average in the NFL. The Bills ranks 8th out of 32 teams by averaging 7.25 yards per pass play.
When the Jets visit Orchard Park for a November 19 divisional showdown, Bills' quarterback Josh Allen and WR1 Stefon Diggs will attempt to operate against a defensive backfield that features two of the most highly-rated cornerbacks in the NFL. Sauce Gardner (88.9) and D.J. Reed (84.6) are two of the top-five graded corners in pass coverage by Pro Football Focus thus far this season.
The Jets' defense ranks seventh amongst league leaders in interception rate (3.16%). Safety Jordan Whitehead intercepted Allen three times during the Monday Night Football season opener, a 22-16 win for Gang Green. Diggs totaled 10 receptions for 102 yards and one touchdown.
"Jordan Whitehead is a guy that should absolutely be in consideration for Pro Bowl, All Pro, all that. He runs us back there. He is great communicator. He elevates everybody around him," said Jets' defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich on Thursday.
Allen's 11 interceptions are a league high thus far this season, but the dual threat also leads the entire NFL in total touchdowns (26).
"He’s a one-man wrecking crew and a damn near superman on the football field," said Jets' head coach Robert Saleh about the opposing quarterback. "Josh has also punched us in the mouth a couple of times, too, so he’s well deserving of all the respect he gets."
Sports Illustrated has identified one important in-game matchup for every contest on the Week 11 docket. For the Jets vs. Bills, it's the defensive secondary vs. Allen.
It should be noted that Allen will be operating under the direction of a newly-promoted offensive coordinator this Sunday. The Bills dismissed Ken Dorsey and elevated quarterbacks coach Joe Brady to the play caller's role.
The Jets and the Bills clash for the second time this season at 4:25 pm ET on Sunday in Orchard Park.
New York Jets (4–5) at Buffalo Bills (5–5)
Key matchup: Josh Allen vs. Jets’ flooded secondary
The Jets have one of the best defenses in the league. They’re terrific up front, notching the league’s best pressure rate (29.6%) while blitzing only 17.2% of the time, ranking 31st in football.
It’ll be fascinating to see how Allen deals with a good rush and seven men in coverage, considering he leads the league with 11 interceptions.