Opening week of the 2023 NFL season produced plenty of storylines, drama and exciting finishes. But none more memorable or magnificent than the Monday Night Football finish between the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets. On a night when four-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered an injury on the fourth play of the game, the Jets rallied from a 13-3 half-time deficiet to beat the odds and Bills in overtime, 22-16.
Undrafted rookie Xavier Gipson returned a punt 65 yards for the winning touchdown to send the Jets players and fans at MetLife Stadium into a frenzied celebration.
Along with Gipson’s heroics, Jets strong safety Jordan Whitehead had three interceptions of Bills QB Josh Allen. New York’s defense pressured Allen and sacked him five times while also forcing the key fumble by Allen late in the fourth quarter to set up the go-ahead field goal in the closing two minutes. That was just one play after the Jets had tied the game on an acrobatic short touchdown reception by star receiver Garrett Wilson, who was a heavily bet prop to score a touchdown (+165) Monday night.
According to Pro Football Focus and its new noise-canceled score metric, the Jets were the deserved winner of the low-scoring affair over the Bills despite running just 53 offensive plays. The stats review showed the Jets running game was a real strength as New York rushed 28 times for 172 yards. Second-year RB Breece Hall was a star in his return from last year’s season-ending ACL knee injury. Hall carried the ball just 10 times for 127 yards including a 26-yard run on the Jets first play from scrimmage. Hall’s game highlights also included an 83-yard burst from the shadow of his goal line early in the second quarter.
NFL Week 1 ATS and Week 2 Odds
In NFL Week 1 action, home teams went just 6-10 straight up (SU) and 4-12 against the spread (ATS). The Jets (+2.5) were one of only two home underdogs that won outright as home underdogs went 2-4 SU/ATS.
New York was a projected 3-point underdog in Week 2 lookahead lines on the road against the Dallas Cowboys with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. The odds just got longer with QB Zach Wilson under center, as the Week 2 odds show the Jets now a +7.5 point underdog at Dallas. The Bills return home to Orchard Park as a -9.5 point favorite against the Las Vegas Raiders – the biggest point spread in Week 2. Betting odds, lines and totals are subject to change, and one leading online sportsbook has dropped the Bills to a -8.5 point favorite off their performance and loss Monday night.
The Jets division win over the Bills was significant with the potential loss of QB Aaron Rodgers. An MRI is scheduled for Tuesday morning on Rodgers with major concern that he might have suffered a season-ending (torn) Achilles injury.
“The MRI is probably going to confirm what we think is going to happen, so prayers tonight,” a somber Saleh told reporters. “But it’s not good.”
Neither is the Jets tough opening schedule into October at Dallas, home vs. New England and Kansas City, at Denver and home vs. Philadelphia. A bye week gives the Jets a breather before a return to Met Life to tackle the New York Giants Oct. 29 and Los Angeles Chargers Nov. 6.
But for one night to kickoff the 2023 season, Jets fans saw the teams young stars rise and potential for a special season. Positive news on Aaron Rodgers’ injury would bring added hope for the Jets to eclipse their season win total of 9.5, and have a shot to win the AFC East division for the first time in 20 years and return to the playoffs.
You can bet on it.